Matthew 7:21, 24-27
We’re early into Advent, with some three weeks of growth ahead of us before the great Christmas celebration. The Christmas music has already started to build up that special "spirit" which is this season; those marvelous carols and traditional melodies stir up within us the Spirit whereby we really want to have good will towards all. Sad to say, come December 26th this special music comes to an end — and usually so does the Christmas spirit!
Today’s Gospel cites Jesus calling for renewed hearts in his disciples: "not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." Perhaps our experience of Christmas music is like crying out "Lord, Lord", without any ongoing effort to carry out God’s will. In Jesus, God wants us to learn to live together as brothers and sisters, to love, to accept, to be patient. Oh, the feelings are good, but they can change; God desires that we "build our house on rock" and be determined to live like Christ himself: utterly selfless, relentless in day-by-day love.
Advent invites us to look around us, at Christ present to us in one another and our world. Are we serious about our faith? Does our prayer nourish that special relationship with God? Do we love in practice, as well as in our feelings? Do we keep on trying, even though our efforts seem feeble?
As we listen to Jesus’ words these Advent days, and witness his presence in our midst, may we ACT on those words and experience the spirit of Christmas — Jesus — every day of the year.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.