Make a List; Check it Twice

This First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the church new year, and is a season of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ, and his second coming. Advent is a gift to help us to examine our conscience, and make a list of the ways we can to re-orient our lives to more fully reflect a close relationship with Jesus. It is easy to think that we can put off our fully turning ourselves to God. But today’s readings give us a sense of urgency. Jesus said, “Be prepared…” and uses the example of the people at the time of Noah, who had completely missed the urgency of the impending flood by going about their daily routine.

So in order to adequately prepare for Christmas, we should make a list of those areas in our lives that still need some work.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” It is hard to be a peacemaker. It means being the one who is wiling to bring calm to a situation or a conversation. It may mean biting our tongue when we become frustrated, or speaking up when we need to. St. Paul tells us to awake from sleep, to conduct ourselves “properly,” and to get rid of “rivalry.” We should try to be free of any rivalry in our lives. Our list should include reconciliation or healing during this Christmas season, which seems to be a time when people are more open to forgiveness and mending hurt feelings. We pray for peace in our families and in our society.

After we make a list of what we want to accomplish this Advent, we can check it in about two weeks (the Third Sunday of Advent), to see how we are doing. We have to begin now rather than later, so that we can be ready to enjoy a peaceful and joyful Christmas.

Going to church means wanting to be part of the community. Think about inviting someone to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day mass. Thanks for attending mass, and seeking to bring peace. The Lord has given us the gifts we need to accomplish what Christ has called us to do. Stay encouraged. See you next week.

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