One of the hallmarks of the Early Church was the transformation that took place in the hearts of the disciples. Standing before the Risen Lord, they were freed from the fear of sin and death as they opened their hearts to the power of repentance. Their example inspires us to call upon God for the grace we need every day to walk in the light His love.
We start a new liturgical year in the Church (that’s “Year A” if you need to use the Lectionary for Sunday readings and “Cycle I” for daily Mass) with a vision of the end of time when the Son of Man comes in glory.
Several key points emerge:
It will happen suddenly, when no one expects it (Gospel)
All nations will come and be taught God’s ways (1st Reading)
It is the Lord who makes peace possible, not humans (1st Reading)
In God’s house there is great joy (Psalm)
We live each day fully prepared, ready if the Lord call us (2nd Reading)
Advent gives us a rich – but very short – opportunity to prepare our hearts for Christmas. All of these points listed above serve as excellent reminders regarding how we live each day fully invested in the present moment. We live for the Lord, following his commands, so as to be ready whenever and wherever our lives will take the next turn in the road.
For when God calls us into eternity we hear that the unity, peace, and joy we glimpse in precious moments in this life will come to fulfillment. United in the Lord, we will join the heavenly host when this world passes away.
I invite us all to consider how we might do one thing better each day – to be more focused, more aware, more present – so that we can give glory and honor to Jesus Christ. We follow the Lord with all our hearts; may we make the most of every day to live our faith to the fullest.
Those moments…when our guts constrict and the air goes out of our lungs. The times in life when we are overwhelmed, lost, consumed by pain or grief, feeling abandoned, tempted to the breaking point…
And Jesus understands. Forty days of solitude in the wilderness, hungry and thirsty, the Lord triumphed over the temptations of Satan. It is crucial to note that these temptations – over physical needs, personal power/control, and death itself – would all be faced by Christ at Calvary. What’s more, he will triumph!
Our faith reminds us of two key facts. Yes there will be times of trial, but as we confront the reality of life we do so equipped with the victory of Jesus. We face our struggles with God’s grace, and we call upon the Lord as we say:
Be with me Lord, when I am in trouble!
If you are looking for more material to help you this Lent, you might consider this list of presentations I have offered over the last couple of years. Feel free to check it out and share if you find it helpful:
Life offers its share of transitions, moments when we entrust our work to another and turn over our efforts into someone else’s care. Of course, that means that things are going to get done differently – maybe in a way that we would never do – and we learn how to let go and allow things to happen beyond our control. The key ingredient to this handoff? Trusting and relying on God to see it through.