Advent 2014

First Wednesday in Advent - December 3rd

Is 23: 6-10 / Ps 23: 1-6 / Mt. 15: 29-37

On this third weekday of our Advent season, we memorialize St. Francis Xavier, S.J., patron saint of Japan and of missionaries.  His life-story is one of faithful and dedicated ministry to the church in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in service of God’s ‘little ones,’ to the simple and the poor of the world.

After a life of dedicated service to God’s people, it is said that as he was dying “…(Francis) gave his spirit to his Creator and Lord -with great peace and repose.”

Advent is a time of hope, of love, of peace, and of joy as we open ourselves to the will and to the work of God in our lives.  With trust, we are called to anticipate ‘in awe’ the fulfillment of God’s promises to us, and to receive the outpouring of God’s love in the birth of Jesus - for us !  Each of us is invited into the new life that is offered, but we must also prepare for the gift so graciously given us.  In all of this, we must also remember and never forget that it is God who prepares us, invites us, and provides for us in this way.

Our powerful first reading, from the Book of the Prophet, Isaiah, uses the word ‘will’ seven times.  This is a story of compassionate restoration – because of God’s faithfulness to his word and to us.  It calls us, I believe, to ask, “What is God’s will for me, for us?”  And, in asking this, we are invited to reflect upon our trust in what God will do - for us.

In Matthew’s gospel account we hear (again) of God’s compassion in the person of Jesus - as he healed and nourished those most in need, leading to amazement on the part of those gathered.  Then, using the 4 actions of Eucharist (taking, blessing, breaking, sharing) , Jesus gives to us and invites us to give to others from the abundance of our blessed life.  Again, we are invited to reflect upon the gifts given us - and upon our willingness to allow God to ‘take and bless them’ so that we may break and share them with others. 

The comforting words of Psalm 23 remind us that it is the Lord who shepherds, gives, leads, refreshes, guides, accompanies, empowers, nourish, and honors us – because this is who God is, this is how God is for us.  Advent is the time for us to prepare for and welcome the gift of new life as we enter into the Lord’s dwelling place, into the Lord’s care for us.  Will we, like Francis Xavier, entrust our spirit to our Creator and Lord - that we too might experience great peace and repose?

 Rev. Kevin C. Mullins, O.S.A.
 Villanova Board of Trustees