Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b: 64:2-7; Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37
What is Advent? Advent is not a penitential season as is Lent. Advent is a "joyful preparation for remembering the birth of Jesus, our Savior." It is a time of doing fall and winter cleaning, to prepare ourselves for the second most important feast in our Christian, calendar: Christmas. We may ask two questions. How close are we to Jesus? And how close does Jesus want to be to us?
I shall leave the first question up to you and allow you to ask Jesus what needs to change in your life to be closer to him. The answer to the second question is indeed earth shattering. To me it is an explosive reality. Christmas can be every day.
How Christ comes every day
Christ comes every day on the altar when the priest, with apostolic succession, celebrates the Eucharist (Mass). With the power of his ordination he asks the Holy Spirit to come. He changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The priest uses the words, translated in our own language, that Jesus used at the Last Supper, the words of consecration.
What then happens? The bread and wine change and become the real presence of Christ, though the physical qualities remain the same. Is not Jesus born again on that altar for us? This happens every day all over the world as Jesus offers us "our daily bread."
Perhaps this is our greatest miracle, the multiplication of the bread as spiritual food. He also teaches and heals his people. It is not my prayer or your prayer. It is the prayer of Jesus Christ, our High Priest, making himself available for us as the Greatest Meal on earth. As Jesus comes, he brings us an increase of grace, his divine power that fills us and flows through us to bless others.
The effects of the Eucharist
It takes a lot of thought for us to understand even part of this great mystery. Yes, the Eucharist makes the effects of Christ’s death and resurrection present in time for us each day. If we are able to adjust our daily schedule around our other responsibilities and go to daily Mass, we can receive great blessings from Jesus. He always has more gifts for us. Using modern images from our life, Jesus fills up our "gas tank" and increases the wattage of his divine light in us. As we go out into the world we have more of his power and radiant resurrected light to share in the dark and confused world. We share Christ’s light.
May the joy of these great gifts fill your mind and heart so it flows more from you to others. Have a better week than last.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)