Dear Friends in Christ,
On this First Sunday of Advent, as we start another liturgical year, Christ gives us the hope and the promise of a better future with Him. He assures us that He is ever present, with His graces always made available to us as we call on His name. During these four weeks of Advent, let us call on God to bring us deeper and closer to the heart of Christ His Son, whose coming we anticipate with great gladness.
How do we prepare for the coming of our Savior King? Christ tells us to "be watchful, be alert." We might find His command to be too arduous a task, but Christ does not leave us ungeared. Christ supplies us with spiritual gifts found in Sacred Scripture, His Sacraments, and in His Church. These gifts allow us to open our hearts to receive God's grace and enlighten our eyes to see the things which hinder God from taking full control of us. We are to watch out for diversions of the world, our own self-willed plans and ambitions, our selfish interests, materialistic concerns, which make no room for Christ to dwell. Let us implore the Lord to clear our hearts of all sinfulness in order to make His Spirit alive in us - the Spirit of goodness, kindness, generosity, humility, patience, understanding, compassion, peace and merciful love. Let us also invoke the Spirit of God to shine forth the glory of God and give birth to Christ in our prayer, our crosses offered to Him, our service to His Church, and merciful acts to our neighbors. Let us remain watchful and alert to the Lord and the ways in which He speaks to us and manifests His saving love in each moment of our lives. Indeed, our Advent will be a fruitful waiting, as God fully enters our hearts and occupies our entire being.
So, let us be watchful and alert...let us open our hearts to God's grace, as our Savior comes to us, especially as we gather together at the Eucharistic Sacrifice of our Lord. With firm trust that our faithful God will keep us firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace, hope and blessings in Christ,
Rev. Jonathan Paala
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. " (Mark 13:33)