Reflection for Sunday, November 29, 2020: 1st week in Advent.

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Dilly, Barbara
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2020-11-29
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en_US
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|As we enter another Advent season, I take joy in recognizing a shift in our conversation with God.  The Old Testament lessons reveal a great deal of uncertainty for Isaiah that is characteristic of us all.  Isaiah acknowledges that God is our father and our redeemer, but he is anxious about how God works in our hearts.  Is it God that lets us wander from God's ways?  Is it God who hardens our hearts?  Has God left us to our own devices and then become angry with us, enough so to turn his face from us when God sees what a mess we make of our lives?  Do we then turn away from seeking the God who has made us because we feel we aren't loved anymore?  Isaiah seems to be desperate here to re-establish our relationship with God.  Isaiah admits we have done wrong, and we have to try harder, but he is so bold as to say that God has to try harder to connect with us if we are going to be more like the people God intended us to be. |The Psalmist has a similar conversation with God.  He (probably but not certainly he) makes the same case with God.  "Rouse up your power and come to save us!"  Let us see your face again and make us turn to you, he pleas.  Like Isaiah, the Psalmist is also calling on God to keep up his end of the bargain in caring for us and protecting us.  In this desperate admission that we really need help comes the inspiration and the vision and the prophecy.  We hear the plea from the Psalmist for the coming of the son of man who will give us new life when we call upon God.  The Psalmist says here that if we can get a very exemplary son of man, the man of God's right hand, we won't feel so lost and confused in our relationship with God.  This man will bring us back to God, will let us see God's face and favor once again, and will be our salvation.  It comes again in Psalm 85, this plea for God's love and salvation. |And it happened, indeed.  God heard those prayers.  Now in Paul's letter to the Corinthians we read about this blessed gift of Christ Jesus, the son of man and of God who enriches us with knowledge through our renewed conversation with God. Through Christ Jesus, we get all the spiritual gifts we need to stay firm in the Lord.  We have a clearer focus for our lives in a deeper, richer relationship with God.  Christ is the constant kindling for the fire of our faith, but Jesus does not let us off the hook here.  He himself acknowledges that our faith can easily grow weak.  While Christ Jesus changed our relationship with God, we are still flawed human beings.  He tells us clearly that we need to keep watch over our faith.  Advent is a perfect time to practice our vigilance.  We are not just awaiting the coming of the Savior in the celebration of Christmas in Christ's birth.  We should be learning to better focus our faith on the enrichment of spiritual gifts that come to us in Jesus.  This Advent season, as we plan our gift giving, I pray that we can think of ways that we can better share our spiritual gifts with others.  During this very difficult time, I think our loved ones really need our gifts of faith, hope, charity, love, forgiveness, and encouragement much more than they need chocolates or sweaters.   I give thanks for Advent as the time to enrich ourselves in all these ways through the grace of God. 
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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