Now is the time

Are you thankful for the person that you are? You should be! Don’t be afraid to show your love for yourself and to be thankful for all that you are and want to become. 

It’s no surprise that the most written about Person in all of human history is Jesus Christ. After all, He shook the world to its core by His Words and actions and we have never been the same since. His coming, as the Messiah, Savior and King, was foretold centuries before. Yet, He was born in humility with straw and hay for His bed. His mission was to find the lost, heal the sick, forgive the sinner, feed the hungry, love His enemy, serve and not be served. He shook humanity to the bone, for His ways were not man’s ways. Man’s thinking would never be the same. He lit a fire on the earth that still burns today — the light of His love that shines in the hearts of all who believe in Him. Centuries later we remain in awe of the Man Who said, “Come, follow Me” (Mk 1:17). This is His simple message and heart of the Gospel; come to Christ and see. 

How has Jesus said this to you? Are you focused on shining His light for all to see? Are you willing and ready to shake up the world as Jesus did? Doing Christ’s work begins with love for God and yourself. From there, everyone benefits.

Today, many people still look for the reassurance that Christ is the Messiah. They may not see Him, but they do see you. Your witness to Christ is how you can begin to shake up the world. Your witness can reawaken people’s faith. This, in and of itself, is a miracle. This miracle may not be so dramatic as Jesus’, but all who witness your faith will see Christ in you. You love God because you love yourself and your neighbor. There is no other reason why God’s love lives in you. Yet, in our humility we say we don’t deserve God’s love, and rightfully so. But, He still gives it to us and we take care to receive it and do good with it.

Each Advent season I am reminded of two special people whose lives were changed forever and today are models of faith for our Church: Mary and Joseph. In her young teen-age years Mary was asked to be the mother of God’s Son. She was afraid at first. But then she listened and was no longer afraid. Mary’s “Yes” shook the world. She became Christ’s first witness. Joseph, betrothed to Mary, became very disturbed at Mary’s pregnancy. He, too, was afraid. But, the angel of the Lord dispelled Joseph’s fear: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:20-21). And by his faith and actions, Joseph shook the world because he listened to God.

What awesome faith we find in Mary and Joseph. Mary’s faith in God gave us Emmanuel. Joseph’s faith in God gave us understanding, reassurance and hope. Their love for God teaches us that we need to listen to God in everyone and in everything. It is in that listening that we can respond to God’s call, as His children, to love as He loves and to forgive as He forgives. We need to always be conscious of this. 

Bishop Robert Barron, in one of his Advent reflections, writes: “No matter how much we know, we want to know more; no matter how much we love, we want greater love; no matter how much beauty we attain, we sense there is a perfect beauty that we haven’t seen. This attitude of longing is ingredient in the structure of our consciousness.” 

Now is the time. Be ever watchful! Be ever alert! Be always ready! God has chosen you because of your special gift to others — yourself. Let the fire of Jesus’ love burn in your heart so that you may go out and shake up your world with ever-increasing knowledge of Him, a growing love for Him and the beauty of Him that reflects from you. Thank you for doing that!

Happy Advent and God bless!

Anchor columnist Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.

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