Joy is at the Center of Faith
Advent is a time of reflection and reconciliation, a time to consider how we can try to change the things that need to be changed in us. About a month ago I was talking to my sister about my life, with all I have been through. At 13, I started to get into drugs and from then all the way to the age of 37 so much had happened. I remember one afternoon God sent a couple to my house, I did not know who they were. They spoke to me about going to a retreat which changed my life and my family’s so dramatically. One of the things I asked my sister when we were conversing is that, even as I had gone through so many bad things and had done so many things wrong, why has God been so merciful with me and I’m still here. Why?
And she gave me the scripture in today’s first reading the prophecy of Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he the Lord has anointed me: he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim the liberty to the captives”. That gave me so much comfort and it should give us all comfort to know he has given that to all of us.
In the second reading St. Paul tells us to pray always without ceasing. Being a Christian comes with a little bit of everything sometimes. We have our ups and downs and I have gone through a lot in the last year but with your prayers I have been able to overcome.
Last year, with all my illnesses, my heart, my knee, and my shoulders, along with the loss of my mother, was a very hard year for me but it was time to move on. I am doing really well, physically, thanks be to God, and to all of you for your prayers. I know now God called me for this reason to share the good news and to share some of my private life. How God made me who I am now, a servant to his church, in this manner, can we come to understand two fundamental elements which we should consider in our Christian life. The holiness of life is reflected in constant obedience to God. Be obedient to the will of God, the proclamation of the truth as evangelization and a following of the Messiah as a full and healthy Christian life must be lived with joy because God is good and he is also the fountain of joy and peace.
Today’s gospel reminds us that John the Baptist every year during Advent and Lent wants us to ask ourselves how we are living our Christian faith and I ask God every day to guide me always with his wisdom and his spirit as we all should.
My dear brothers and sisters may God bless you and your families on behalf of my wife Lydia and my family as we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Amen.
Your Brother in Christ,
Deacon Ben Flores
Note: The attached video is Fr. Dave’s homily for this third Sunday of Advent.