Receiving Gifts

Thanksgiving has flown by and it was a great pleasure for me to celebrate our Bilingual Mass. A big THANKS to everyone who made it all possible, from the Lectors and Eucharistic ministers to the Altar servers and ushers; and especially to our combined music ministry….Awesome job. I know our Good God was well pleased. The only short coming was the gringo priest’s ability to speak Spanish, and so thank God we have the multi-lingual Fr Francis!  At Thanksgiving I also give THANKS to our school families who raised $27,000.00 to upgrade our sound system, lights and projectors. All of which are fading fast. Your support of SAM Church is truly inspiring. As we enter into the Advent season we recall all the blessings of this past year and wait with great expectation for the greatest gift to humankind….the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We see in our first reading this theme of waiting to give THANKS and waiting for the day to CELEBRATE God’s intervention in human history. The writers of the book of Isaiah – which we will hear proclaimed these first three Sundays of Advent – witnessed colossal historical events in the life of the Israelites: wars, revolts, dethroned rulers. Yet in Isaiah, no military or political power compares in importance to God’s majesty, and to the intimate relationship between our loving God and his beloved, chosen people.   So in the midst of the Israelites’ exile, Isaiah recalls all the times in history that God provided protection, and begs for the Lord to come once more to their aid. He acknowledges that they have sinned, but is confident in God’s deep abiding covenantal promise. That God’s love endures forever.  And so we can be confident in our hope that our loving God is active in our lives, shaping us with the loving tenderness of a potter molding clay. Constantly at work building us into a beautiful creation.

We hear this same confidence in the Gospel message of Jesus to his disciples. His words, Be watchful! Be alert! are not a threat or some dooms day message. Rather they are instructions for how to live with assurance: we don’t have to wonder or worry, because we know with certainty that the Lord of the house will come! We will not be abandoned or forgotten. The Master will return. The Master will bring to completion the good work He began in us and in the world.

And so the nights are much longer than the days in this dark time of the year. We may be facing harsh difficulties, unknown risks or painful circumstances. Yet what the prophet Isaiah names is what Paul the Apostle confirms: In him you were enriched in every way, because God is faithful. We have already been given the graces we need to face our specific circumstances. In the words of Saint Paul in today’s reading: you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

YES, God is, indeed, faithful. The only question we must answer is, how are we responding to this awesome grace? How are we preparing ourselves for the Glorious Birth of our Savior?

With much gratitude, Fr Dave

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