Bishop Robert Barron is fond of saying that ‘God is a gathering force, for his very nature is love.’ As we continue to journey through Advent and reflecting on the beginnings of our walk with Christ through our lives, a no doubt important step in that walk was the announcement of the Good News to you, or, if you like, the invitation God extends to us to know Him truly; the readings this week offer us a great foundation for this reflection!
In the first reading we have a description of Christ that is intensely eye-catching all on its own. Jesus is described with surprising, almost paradoxical language; Jesus is a man full of virtue, authority, and peace such that the whole world will seek after Him. Christ’s very presence is invitational for us to discover who this ‘Jesus’ really is!
Paul continues this theme by prompting the Christians of Rome to be welcoming. He reminds them that all are welcomed into the house and family of God, from all walks and backgrounds, and so that the Gospel message of God’s love and mercy through Christ’s death and resurrection might be known among all peoples.
Lastly, John the Baptist’s preaching in Matthew’s Gospel draws many into a state of preparation for the message of Jesus, even the Pharisees and Sadducees who would ultimately call for the Crucifixion. But John warns the religious leaders, and us, that our acceptance of the invitation must mean something; it requires a conversion which pursues God relentlessly rather than resting on our laurels.
Each of the readings this week offers a different window by which God invites us to the new life Jesus brings. From the curiously attractive presence of Christ, to a welcoming and joyful Christian community, to a call to repentance and conversion; there are myriad ways in which God calls out to us. Perhaps one of these invitations was part of your own first steps on your walk with Christ, or perhaps it was something completely different; all the same, these invitations are not one-time-only events, but daily occurrences where God seeks to share His life with us! Therefore, let us make conscious effort in every moment of this Advent season to hear and respond eagerly to the presence and call of God!
Written by: Alex Craven, Family Faith Formation Coordinator