Saturday, November 29, 2008

A New Year of Grace 1st Sunday of Advent

“God is faithful, He will keep you firm to the end, in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.” Today we begin a new year. This is the first day of the New Year. It is the first Sunday of Advent. As we begin a new year of grace it is good to meditate on these words that St. Paul writes to the Church. God is faithful. That is to say he remains faithful. In the first reading this is clear. The people of Israel have been selfish.They forgot about God. They were busy living their sinful lives. Pleasure and distraction was the law they lived by in their pursuit of happiness. They rejected God and his law. God does not reject them. Even though he allows them to suffer the consequences of their actions, he does not reject them. The same is true today for you and me. No matter how far we stray from God, rejecting his law, living according to our own pleasures and desires, He remains faithful. Advent is a time of longing for God. Today we should admit our desire for God to be part of our life. The knowledge that St Paul gives today should serve as an encouragement. God is faithful. He is here for us. He will keep you firm to the end. God knows how hard it is for us to remain faithful; therefore He promises to keep us firm. In other words He is our strength. He strengthens us by the Sacraments. In living Sacramental lives we are strengthened. In Confession and Eucharist He is our strength. In these Sacraments the Grace, Mercy, and Love that is given to each one of us is what sustains us in our life, and in our struggles. Gods Loving Mercy will keep us to the end. In him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and knowledge, you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.. He is all we need. Often times when we stray from God we are looking for something that will make us feel whole. St. Paul tells us that what we are really looking for is Jesus, and we already possess Him if we have the courage to turn to Him and to accept His Mercy and His Love. As this new year of Grace opens before us we must keep the words of St. Paul in our hearts and minds. We must admit our faults and our sins. We must admit that we often stray from God, and that we long for Him who will fulfill our hearts desire in mercy and in love. This is how we prepare. This is how we wait in joyful hope; knowing that God himself will sustain us. We can no longer pretend that we are fine living without God. We must admit that we need His gifts. First the gift that comes to us in this new year of Grace. The second is the greatest gift that has been given; He gave us His only Son to be our Savior. The third is the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and Confession. Finally we await the fulfillment of His Promise to return in Glory. Many people have chosen to live their life without God. Even those who come to Mass every Sunday often live according to the ways of the world. God is faithful. He is near. You and I must pray that at the beginning and throughout this year of Grace we may have the courage to call upon Him form the depths of our hearts that our Hope will be fulfilled.

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