Over the past few days, I have heard some of the most moving and meaningful Advent homilies of my life. As a result, I felt inspired to share some of what I have been learning and so
“The Word: Still becoming flesh” a new Advent episode of Catholic Focus is born!
As a child, Advent is a time of anguish. I remember squirming as the first candle, the second, the third and- finally (!)- the fourth candle of the Advent wreath were lit.
I’m sure many of you can relate: for the longest time, Advent seemed to be a barrier to joy. Until more recently, it was always a time I had to “endure”; a time of anxiety. But over the years, I am coming to understand that Advent is a much-needed time of spiritual “ramping up” ; it is a buffer zone, a time put aside to hone in on dreams and aspirations.
Here is a compilation of “Advent-homily-wisdom” that has contributed to the "focus" of this Catholic Focus:
Advent is a time for realizing dreams
It may sound cheesy. But it really is the truth! In a recent homily given here at the Salt +Light studio chapel, Father Tom told us that Advent is the time to put our dreams into motion.
At Christmas, the unthinkable becomes reality
. God’s story becomes man’s story. In a way, being a Christian means getting used to reality being BIGGER and BETTER than the best dream we can think up. We must not be afraid to DREAM BIG. Our God is the God of Generosity. In his homily, Father Tom went on to say that “dreaming big” isn’t about wishing for a castle and for a prince to whisk you away (sorry ladies) because these kind of things are not lasting! Instead, we need to start focusing on building those things that are eternal; we need to start nurturing those dreams that will transform the world around us -we must start to build! What does that mean for you? It may mean feeding the hungry in your own little way like the volunteers at St. Francis Table
in downtown Toronto (as featured in tonight’s Catholic Focus and in a previous blog
). Or, you might have an overwhelming desire to give other people hope by spending time with the elderly, maybe you desire to create art, to write a novel, to comfort the suffering, to work with children, to welcome the stranger, to give anonymous gifts… Jesus comes to make dreams come true. Are you making someone else’s dreams come true? Do you know what it is you truly desire? Are you ready to have your dreams realized? Have you taken steps to prepare for their realization? Now is the time.
Being Human is Holy
I have been subjected to this message again and again this Advent! I think I finally get it. Being human is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s the best thing! Jesus sanctified human existence by taking on flesh for Himself. In doing this, He forever exalted family life, our cultures and our traditions as something to be revered; as something holy. In this Catholic Focus, I speak to three members of the family of the Institute of the Incarnate Word
about this very point. Their Institute, founded in 1984 by Father Carlos Buela exists to confirm the privileged position of humanity and its inherent goodness. The Institute’s mission reinforces the point that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son; meaning that He first chose to send Him to us; He chose to embrace humanity for Himself. Jesus ate with family, He laughed, sang, held children; He built with His Hands. Ours is not a distant God; the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
Every day should be like Christmas
I feel like this should be in our headlining thoughts at our waking each morning. Today is a new day; a gift. With my cooperation, God will use me to bring hope and lightness to others, God will also be visiting me through the conversations I will have today and in the new people I will meet. If we really knew our identity as children of God, we would be left reeling at the thought of the gifts that await us each day. The richness of God is our heritage! For the Institute of the Incarnate Word, everyday is like Christmas. As Father Daniel Mentesana of the Institute says, Christ came to us in a humble manger instead of in a royal palace. His royal palace, He finds in our hearts. Our hearts are the inns where He hopes to find room.
This Advent, let’s make our hearts fit for a King, because He is indeed coming.
Tune in tonight for Salt + Light’s newest Catholic Focus The Word: Still Becoming Flesh.
That’s tonight at 7pm and 11pm ET, 8 pm PT.