As Catholics, we have stepped into the new Liturgical Year A with readings from the Gospel of Luke. This weekend, Jesus has foretold of his second coming and we have lit the first candle on the wreath. Advent has arrived and we begin our prayerful time for the coming of Christ.
Many of us will begin preparations for the holiday season and put all our energy into making this a special time for our families. We generally experience greater stress, frustration, and anger as we struggle to get everything done. However, today’s second reading calls to us to put our priorities in a different place and focus our preparations on love to strengthen our hearts.
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts.”
This year, we should put our energies into how we can come together and share love, hope, and peace with one another. Not in a material sense but in the way of spending time with one another, giving outreach to one another; focusing on how we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters. Can we do one small thing that will truly make a difference for someone instead of all the stressful activities that leave us feeling drained and without purpose?
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta encouraged us:
“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all, in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”
Christ did not ask us to give him things instead he asked us to give love and joy to one another. By loving one another we can grow in God’s love for us this Advent season.