Saturday, December 18, 2010

Benedict Fourth Sunday of Advent. "Ask for a sign": God gives the perfect Sign in the "present of Presence". He gives Himself

"...the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."

God is love, and if we wish to have love we must learn to give as God gives. He gives Himself. We must learn to do the same if we want to love and be loved.

Love, then, is presence, one person being present really and truly with all of his or her gifts with another person. In the case of God's total gift of Himself in Jesus Christ for which we prepare in this final week of Advent, the gift is of the Divine Presence, God in Himself with us, those whom He loves. We must learn to give the sign of love as God does if we are to truly know the joy of loving.

The sign of God's "present of presence" on the altar at holy Mass makes this and every church where the Eucharist is celebrated a new Bethlehem, a "house of bread", where God Himself feeds His people with the true nourishment of love. God gives Himself in Jesus Christ every time the holy Mass is celebrated, offered and received.

"The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit." (CCC 1325)

The grace of the Eucharistic life continues for us as we learn to give ourselves with sincerity and generosity to one another. We live in true Eucharistic communion as we learn to live and express thankfulness for every human person and for the gifts and graces he or she brings into our lives as a reflection of God's self-giving in the Eucharistic banquet of His love. This self-giving and sacrificial love in communion with and in imitation of Christ must begin in and radiate outward from the Christian family.

For the full text of this Sunday's homily, please click here to visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy.

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