1st Thursday of Advent
Memorial of St. Francis Xavier
Isaiah 26:1-6 Matthew 7, 21, 24-27
Every year, people grumble about preparing for Christmas. There is so much shopping to do; so much baking to do; so much card-writing to do; so much decorating to do; etc. Yet, all the grumbling aside, we would never think of not doing any of it. We humans are a strange lot! The problem is not Christmas. The problem is that we are not consistent in the way we celebrate God greatest gift to the world. Seeking the Lord Jesus who is the face of the Father’s mercy should be a way of life for believers. Like the patriarch Jacob, we are often surprised to discover that we have been in the Presence of the Lord, even though we were not aware of it (Cf. Gen 28:17).
Learning to extend the mercy of God to all we meet, year-round, will fill us with joy, serenity and peace. Celebrating the mercy that God extends to us in Christ allows us to love others as we have been loved. This lifestyle of extending mercy and celebrating newness of life in Christ becomes the bridge that connects us to God and to one another. It opens our hearts to the hope of being loved and being capable of loving others. As the Church prepares to enter into the extraordinary jubilee year, let us dedicate ourselves to extending to others the mercy that God has extended to us.
We live a life build on the Rock that is God, Who is ever-faithful and Whose mercy is everlasting. The Eternal Word, Who took flesh of the Ever-virgin Mary stands at the door of mercy and extends His healing touch to all who would cross the threshold. Those who trust in God shall receive from Him grace that will transform them into the likeness of His beloved Son. The Lord is the refuge of sinners Himself and the dwelling place of all who call upon His name.
God’s forgiveness knows no bounds. In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God makes even more evident his love and its power to destroy all sin and hate. The breath of the Holy Spirit gives newness of life wherever it blows. Reconciliation with God is made possible through the paschal mystery and the mediation of the Church. Thus God is always ready to forgive, and he never tires of forgiving in ways that are continually new and surprising. If there is a shortage in forgiveness, it is because we have gotten tired of asking for it.
In the Letter to the Romans we read: “There is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For if the many died by the sin of one man, how much more dis God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, super-abound to many” (Rom. 5:15). The grace and mercy of God, made tangible in the person of the Son totally outweighs the offense. Saint Augustine, says: “It is easier for God to hold back anger than mercy”. Let us not be afraid to approach the throne of mercy. Let us not grow tired of asking for forgiveness nor of extending forgiveness to anyone who asks it of us. When we perform random acts of mercy, we are making visible and tangible the power and the glory of the God.