Livonia, Michigan

Noteworthy News from Fr. Tom

Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

God gives a different grace in each season of the liturgical year. During this season of Advent, God has a grace to give you. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem for the last time, He wept because the people of Jerusalem did not recognize the time of their visitation (Lk 14.40). They would miss out on the grace of God. We do not want to miss out on this Advent time of our visitation. To use the words of John the Baptist in the desert, are we making a straight way for the visitation of God? Are we receiving the grace God is offering us this Advent? This Advent is a time when God will visit us if we allow Him. So how is Advent going for us? Can we make a straight way for the Lord to receive His grace? It is never too late to begin.

How might we receive the grace God is offering us this Advent? Spend more time in prayer with God this Advent. Spend time with God searching for the answers to problems. You should look forward to spending time with a loved one. Look forward with anticipation to spending time with God in prayer each day during Advent. Instead of just going through the motions during this season of Advent, can we celebrate Advent with our heart? May I suggest using the Scripture readings from daily Mass for prayer and meditation. There are also many books available with Advent reflections. If Advent is only a time of consumerism and buying gifts for people that they don’t really want or need, it is flying in the face of what Jesus is all about. There is only one gift at Christmas – that gift is Jesus. (Where’s the line to see Jesus?) Jesus is the grace that the Father wants to give us this Advent. The Father is always willing to give, but it is up to us to unwrap the Father’s gift of Jesus to us. Advent is a time to renew and deepen our relationship with God. It is a time of patient waiting for God, prayerful and trustful waiting for God. Because this season of Advent is so important, the Church gives us four weeks to celebrate it, and in the Eastern Rite (Catholic) Churches the season of Advent is even longer – forty days like our season of Lent. Celebrating Advent is an opportunity to step back from the consumerism of the materialistic world and make a straight way for the Lord to receive the special grace
God has planned for us this Advent.

To receive the grace God is offering us this Advent, we can also reflect on whether we put God first in our life always. If God is not first, we are missing out on the grace God is offering us. Many people do not like Christmas because their wishes for happiness are never fulfilled and many are happy when Christmas has passed. It is a time of year when some people are lonely or depressed and they try to fill up that loneliness with things. They do not give the impression of having received the grace that God is offering. Are they seeking the grace of God or instead seeking something worldly that will never satisfy like the grace God gives? Nothing in this world will fill the longing in our hearts for the grace of God; only Jesus will fill our emptiness.

God gives us a different grace in every liturgical season and God has a grace to give us this Advent. What would be the grace that God has in store for you for this Advent season?

Fr. Tom