First Sunday of Advent
Thank you for joining us for the Advent edition of the Online Spiritual Journey. Over the next few weeks, we will prepare our hearts for the birth of our Savior. We invite you to join us, as we offer daily reflections and Sunday videos.
In the secular world, Advent may seem to mean we should start the party early, but that’s not really the case. The season of Advent can be compared to Lent; except in Advent, we await the birth of the savior. As we wait, we can treat Advent like Lent by offering up sacrifices and doing good works for our fellow neighbors.
I have a story of waiting, but it was the Lord who was waiting for this person to come back to the flock in a special way. It is proof that no matter what we do in life, or how many sins we commit, the Lord is always there to bring us back. My grandfather, Vincent Migliazzo, was a faithful man but wasn’t really into his faith. A couple of years before he passed away he told my mother, “Have I done something wrong? All of my kids hardly practice their faith anymore except you Deb.” My mom reassured him, telling him to go to confession if he felt this bad. Happily, my grandfather did, and it was his first confession in more than 50 years, and he passed away a couple of months later. However, a day before he died, my dad went to visit him, and I remember my dad telling me, “Br. Maximilian, it was beautiful. Papa said to me ‘Bruce you have nothing to worry about, I received all the sacraments, and I am ready to go!’ as if he was bragging about it.” My grandfather died the next day, on Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, when the day’s Gospel reading was the story of the Prodigal Son.
My grandfather lived his life to the fullest, but as he grew older he received the grace of becoming aware and alert of what he might become of him if he didn’t take his faith more seriously. We hear Jesus tell the disciples in the Gospel today at Mass, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come… you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”
So stand on guard! Always remember that even though Christmas is coming, we should observe the season of waiting for the Lord’s coming. Do not relax your efforts for doing good, expecting to be repaid.
How can you show penance during this season? I know for myself I plan to limit time on social media and show charity towards my brothers, especially brothers who are crying for help in their hearts. Always remember to be a saint for someone; you never know if you might find Jesus in his or her heart. Prepare your heart like a stable so that at Christmas time others will find the Infant Child there.
Reflection by Br. Maximilian Burkhart, OSB