December 18, 2016:
First Reading: Isaiah 7: 10 – 14
Second Reading: Romans 1: 1 – 7
Gospel: Matthew: 1: 18 – 24
Angels, apparitions, annunciations, life changing messages embedded in dreams!!!
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about” Matt. 1:10
How could this be possible ?
A young Jewish Virgin – Mary, a just Jewish man – Joseph, had learned from many of their ancestors to notice, pay attention to, and savor the subtle promptings of the Spirit of God.
Like Noah, his wife and family, like Abraham and Sarah, like Moses and his sister, Miriam, and countless others, Mary and Joseph listened to, and took a faith filled leap into the unknown, and seemingly impossible promises made to them by God. Their decision, their choice, their Yes, prepared a way for God to be God, so that His love would give all humanity the Gift of Jesus, Savior of the world.
What about us? We are the men and women of good will now living in this world of distractions and complications. But, we too, have inherited the wisdom and good example from a long line of faith filled people. Are we awake to the promptings of the Spirit? Do we trust in the Living God of our Judeo-Christian heritage? Can we make the life changing, life giving choices even when they are difficult and counter cultural?
Do we surrender to the Living, Loving God who longs to show the world over and over again that “With God, all things are possible.”
Perhaps we can use this prayer, written by Thomas Merton, during the remainder of Advent, as a reminder that Emmanuel is still with us, and that the Holy Spirit is constantly at work in every moment of our lives.
“God of surprises, let us be your Christ bearer, your servant, your deacon in this world grown too distracting and complicated. Make us ready for the gifts that you give, the grace that you impart, the opportunities that you make available to help us grow in holiness. Grant that our eyes may be open to see, our ears to listen, our hearts to love, and our mouths to laugh with delight and joy when our awareness of your presence informs any moment of our lives. Amen.”
Let us continue to wait and watch with joy filled anticipation for the coming of the Lord!
Sr. Gerrie Contento, M.P.F.