Looking back on the year 2020, we may only remember the difficulties, barriers and problems we faced. We may only remember the time we spent in lockdown hiding from Covid-19 or hearing about the thousands of deaths around the world due to the virus. This year may have been difficult for us in many ways, but today the Lord is asking us to look ahead to the future with a hope rooted in Him. Hope is a trust we have in the unfailing goodness of God even when we do not have an answer or a solution to what we face.
Bro Lalith Perera has taught us there are two legs to Christian hope. First, a divine encounter that continues every day. When we have this divine encounter with the Lord, we can hold on to it in times of trouble. This helps us to remember what God has done in our lives in the past and that He can do the same in our future. The second leg is to hold on to the promises of God as the foundation of our lives.
The greatest example of Christian hope is found in the Blessed Mother. When the Lord Jesus was crucified, everyone except the Blessed Mother apparently lost hope. She received the two ingre¬dients necessary for hope. She had a divine encounter when Angel Gabriel came to tell her she would be the Mother of God. Secondly, she received and held on to the promises of God—“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32-33). When the Lord Jesus died, the Blessed Mother held on to hope in the Father when there was no reason to hope. Today, she implores us to do the same.
In today’s First reading the Lord speaks through Prophet Isaiah say¬ing, “Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd.He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young” (v. 10-11).The reward the Lord brings to us when we hold on to a divine encounter and His promises is His presence and love filling our hearts. We will find peace amid the storm. St. Paul said a peace that passes understanding will guard our hearts and minds. God gives us an assurance that He will come to our aid and will make our struggle the foundation of the next thing He will do in our lives when we place our hope in Him.
In the Second reading St. Peter warns his readers to remember how short their lives are. He urges us to live a holy and spiritual life, awaiting the day of the Lord. Through the CRL, the Lord has given us many prayer tools to use to come into His presence. We can use the 5 Keys prayer tool to build our spiritual lives. In the first step we can praise God and be happy. Next, we are called to be gentle to others because the Lord is near us. In the third and fourth steps, we must refuse to be anxious and instead pray and intercede for God’s intervention in our lives. Finally, we need to thank God for all He has done for us. St. Peter also speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. He says in verse 13, “But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” When we live a holy and spiritual life, we are not only preparing ourselves for an eternity with God, but we are able to transform our surroundings into the new earth. When we have a connection with God we can draw down the power of God into our world and transform it to resemble the heavens. This is what God calls us to do this Advent. As we prepare for Christmas, we are called to transform the world we live in.
In today’s Gospel proclamation we read about the ministry of John the Baptist. He is one example of a person who transformed the world around Him by His encounter with God. He had a relationship with God and in turn God called Him to be the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He participated in the ministry of the Lord Jesus by calling people to repent for their sins and baptising them. He was bringing people back to the Kingdom and preparing them to receive their Messiah. He was transforming the world into the new earth.
Today we are called to do the same. First, we must hope in the Lord through a divine encounter and hold on to the promises of God. As we hope in the Lord, we are called to live a life of holiness through a relationship with God. Through this relationship we can draw down the power of God and transform the world around us.
Prayer: Abba Father, I pray that through my encounter with You, I may be able to change over peoples lives and bring new meaning this Christmas. Amen.