“Rejoice in the Lord always!” We hear this today from St. Paul. The prophet Zechariah told us: “The Lord is in your midst.” Our God comes to renew us in his love and he is rejoicing over us with gladness.
My friends, imagine, our God loves us so much that he rejoices over us. God’s great love for us is the source of our heart’s peace. We have nothing to be anxious about when we allow God’s love into our hearts.
John the Baptist reminds us that Jesus came to baptize us with the Holy Spirit – to fill us with the life and power of God. Jesus also comes to separate the “wheat” from the “weeds” in our lives, so that there will be more room in our heart for the Spirit.
During our Advent preparations, we are encouraged to look into our hearts and ask the Spirit to reveal to us anything there that may be blocking the flow of God’s love in us. Are there attitudes in our heart about other people which get in the way of God’s desire to love others through you and me? Jesus desires to come into our hearts more fully in order to soften and heal these attitudes, so that God’s love can flow out to others. In our kindness and compassion to one another, God can be more fully in our midst.
Friends, we really do have much to rejoice about, much to be thankful for. In our thankfulness, even our sinfulness can become a reason to rejoice. And we have experienced that last Monday, December 10, at the Parish Advent Penance Service. I thank all my brother Priests who came out in that cold night to help us in our preparations to meet the Lord. Our God comes to save us from our sins. God desires to renew us in his love.
During these final days of Advent, let us hear the call of God’s love to repent. Let us listen to the voice of the Spirit within us, encouraging us to change – to grow. Let us rejoice in God’s saving grace given to us in Jesus. Let us open our hearts more fully to God’s love, so that we are better able to draw more deeply from God’s life within us – and love others as we are loved.