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1st Sunday of Advent
Be vigilant at all times.… Your redemption is at hand. (Luke 21:36, 28)
So begins another Advent—with words of warning to stay alert, but also with words of confident reassurance. Isn’t it funny how we are so quick to focus on the verses that sound threatening but lose sight of the ones that remind us how faithful God is and how deeply committed he is to us?
Do you believe that right now, God wants nothing but good things for you? After all, he has been pouring out grace on his people for millennia. From the very beginning, he has been leading us to the day of our “redemption,” so why would he stop now (Luke 21:28)?
In today’s first reading, we see St. Paul praying that the people of Thessalonika will deepen in their love for each other as they wait for the Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13). Paul didn’t say this because he thought that the Thessalonians were doing poorly. Quite the opposite—he begins his letter by praising them for their “work of faith and labor of love” (1:3). Paul wasn’t correcting them or admonishing them; he was congratulating them and urging them to keep up the good work!
The same is true for you. God isn’t upset that your faith in him or your love for other people isn’t greater than it is. He knows your heart; he knows how much you want to please him. He delights in the faith and love that you do have—incomplete though it may be. Now he is urging you to take another step so that you can be even more faith filled and loving.
We are entering Advent, a season of grace when God invites us to journey deeper into his love and his presence. Over the next four weeks, you’ll find numerous opportunities to connect with the Lord, whether it is at Mass, in prayer, or in your encounters with other people. Make the most of them. Trust that each situation is another opportunity for your redemption to unfold even more.
“Lord, draw me closer to you this Advent!”
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2
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