May the coming light of Christ give you peace!
This Sunday’s readings affirm in us the characters of hope and peace that Advent calls us to. In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah announces that God does not hold grudges. God is aware of the longing his people have while they are captives in Babylon. God is aware of their suffering. Carried away as captives because of their sins and hardness of heart, God announces that He will gather them and lead them back to their homeland, and to their rightful place of freedom and worship. This is exciting news for them and brings them great consolation!
St. Peter encourages the Church to conduct themselves in holiness and devotion so that they may always have an inner peace and be spared from worry, fear, dread, sorrow or any other pain resulting from sin. When he reminds the people that a thousand years are like one day, and one day is like a thousand years, he helps us grasp the importance of how we live each day of our lives and how mysterious are God’s ways. St. Peter teaches us that God’s patience with human beings is directed toward salvation because he is full of love and wisdom, he is tender and compassionate toward all his creatures! How wonderful is our God!
In the Gospel, John the Baptist is at work bringing burdened hearts and souls back to God. The invitation is there for all of us today as it was for them. It is easy to do: go to Confession acknowledging our own sins and ask Jesus for mercy, then drop the grudges, the bitter feelings and attitudes that creep in and bring pain into our own hearts. Realizing how good God is with us then we can forgive others too. As we grow less self-centered and more open and generous toward God, he can work through us to improve all of our lives and bless our communities. The wonderful thing to remember in all of this is that this is actually God’s work in us! God removes the rough ways and the crooked paths. It is God who levels mountains and fills in the valleys so that our lives become more smooth and even! For our part, we are invited to turn to him who is our Redeemer and our Savior. Please take a moment to check the schedule for dates and times for the Sacrament of Penance. The Lord is waiting for you! May God bless you with peace and hope! +++ Fr. Peter