Grace to you!
Today, we begin another year of grace. The Church’s liturgical year is rightly called year of grace because through every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, and through the entire year, we are immersed in the events of the life, death and resurrection of Christ the Lord. By so doing, we live in the grace-moments of God’s presence in his Church in preparation for the final consummation in heaven. We are afforded the opportunity of being partakers in the divine nature. We celebrate and are constantly re-integrated into the mysteries of our faith.
Advent is the first of the sequence of liturgical events culminating in the Paschal Mystery at Easter, that is, when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So pay attention to the two main events the Church celebrates in Advent: 1) Celebration and remembrance of the first coming of the Lord in time (Christmas). 2) Looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming. It’s about hope, what the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and Calendar calls, “devout and expectant delight” (n. 39).
For this year’s Advent, I will introduce a theme that is very dear to my heart, and I suppose to the heart of many Christians. It’s the theme on grace. So, with an eye on the daily readings, connecting with liturgical spirituality, we shall reflect on different aspects of God’s grace overflowing to us through the mysteries of our faith in the Church - in the liturgy, the Mass, Scripture, through our prayers and, through our relationships.
May I share a beautiful story from C. S. Lewis. It could inspire us to connect with the spirit of Advent as we allow Christ in our lives, and to see how the power of his grace makes all things new.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (London, Macmillan, 1958), p. 160).
Your heart; my heart is that palace Christ wants to live in.
Meditate on the readings
Consider the readings of today. The first reading from Isaiah 2:1-5 is almost exact with the prophesy of Micah 4:1-3. It’s a prophecy about the messianic age, when all nations would be fed from God’s mountain, and all roads to salvation would lead to that mountain. Though the mountain was called Zion, the Fathers of the Church tell us the mountain is the Church. That promise is already fulfilled in Christ, in whom and through whom God’s grace is abundant for us. “From his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).
Romans 13:11-14 (second reading) locates the saving hour to now; meaning, the promise is fulfilled in Christ who has come. Our age, this present age, is the age of the Christ, the Messiah. Though the promise is fulfilled in Christ and his continuous presence through his body the Church, the consummation is yet to come. Hence in the Gospel, we hear the Lord speak of his Second Coming, admonishing us to be prepared because, “for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Matthew 24:44).
Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, increase your love in my heart through the power of your grace. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[First Sunday Advent Year A. 2017]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.