for Sunday, December 9, 2018
How many times in your life have you ever desired to be called? Maybe you waited upon a favorable response after a hopeful job interview? Perhaps you have auditioned for a play or school musical or tried out for an athletic team, and you waited on pins and needles for that affirming call from a director or coach, "You're in!" What excitement you felt when you received the call from someone who affirmed your worth!
This Sunday, too, is moment of joy and gladness. You are invited to receive a wonderful call. Advent is about the coming of Jesus as our Savior. He calls to us and reaches out to us, down to us, drawing us closer to Himself. Advent invites us to prepare ourselves to hear the glorious call and for the world to receive the Savior.
The Prophet Baruch reminds us that God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company. Probably it is difficult for us to sense this message in our hearts. We are Israel, you and I. God is calling us to follow Him, in joy by the light of His glory. We can only know this by faith in the Lord. We Christians are invited to answer His call through belief in Jesus and to believe that Jesus has come for the salvation of the world through His Advent.
Our faith in the call, Christ's coming into the world, and that it has changed the world is challenged daily. Through news channels, the internet, and social media we absorb sometimes horrid news about pain, suffering and death and we wonder - where is God? Abject poverty, terrorism, hate crimes, and abuses of all forms shake our faith. We persevere in His Advent, our faith hard-wearing. Despite these terrible setbacks and disappointments and losses, early Christians acknowledged, and modern day Christians reaffirm, His call to the light of His Glory.
Saint Paul in his Letter to the Philippians acknowledges his confidence in the Advent glory working through those who believe in Christ. He who began a good work in us will continue to complete it until the day of His return. We are called to live in that same faith, with complete confidence.
The Gospel today from Saint Luke puts the figure of John the Baptist in front of us. John calls us to repent and await the coming Messiah. Like John, you and I are called to be a "voice crying in the wilderness," calling out that God is present and that God is here for the salvation of the world. We should be able to proclaim from the depth of our hearts: all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
My sisters and brothers, we are called to be witnesses that God has touched our lives and has come expressly for the salvation of our world. The call of salvation is here in our midst. Let us live in faith and confidence: God will complete His work. And, let us live our lives in this Advent season, and beyond, in a way as to more fruitfully receive His call.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Baruch 5.1-9
Second Reading: Philippians 1.3-6, 8-11
Gospel: Luke 3.1-6
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: