“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, ‘What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘rise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’-he said to the one who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.’” (LK 5: 22-24)
First things first; first: “your sins are forgiven,” and second: “rise and walk.” Our Lord knows what is the most important thing; not our health but our strong relationship with God. With Him we receive all we need: “pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
“Behold the king will come, the Lord of the earth, and he himself will lift the yoke of our capacity.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.” (LK 3: 1-2)
How precise is the description of God’s word coming to us as we meet in today’s Gospel: when: “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,” to whom: “to John the son of Zechariah,” and where: “in the desert.” God knows perfectly our times, where we are and in what circumstances. God knows perfectly when precisely to come to us and how to answer all our needs. We are loved and protected.
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” (LK 1: 38)
Today’s world prefers equality—between man and woman, between marriage and cohabitation, even between God and His creation. Nobody wants to be a “handmaid.” Our Lady changed the history of this world choosing to be a servant of God: “May it be done to me according to your word,” not mine. When marriage and family is based on respect for God’s will, everything becomes right.
“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” (IS 29: 18)
God’s word should be heard and seen. Our Lord wants to come into our hearts with the help of our main doors: through our ears and eyes. The picture of our beloved ones brings some comfort when we are living far away from each other; the voice of him or her when we talk by phone helps us to be closer and to share our lives, but there is nothing to compare with the ability to see and hear our beloved ones. Our Lord heals our ears and our eyes to be closer to us and to assure us about how much He loves us.
“Behold, our Lord shall come with power; he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (MT 7: 21)
Our Lord came to fulfill His Father’s will. He wants the same from us. He knows that God’s will is the best for us. God, Who is Love, and Life, and Truth, God Who loves us, wants only what is good for us.
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call him while he is near.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” (IS 2: 3)
A new beginning, Advent, gives us a new opportunity to start our lives again: based on our true identity, based on our love of God, and based on the instructions we receive daily in His teaching. We want to “walk in His paths.”
“Come and save us, LORD our God; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.” (1 THES 3: 12-13)
This is what love is for—”for one another and for all.” Love is not for us, or only for those who are really close to us, but for all. This is our vocation, our mission and God’s will for us.
“Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.” (LK 21: 34-35)
We receive only today to do what we are called to do. We do not have yesterday, and we do not have tomorrow; we can learn from yesterday and we can plan tomorrow, but we have only today to make our day. When we remember who we are (spouse or business person), we can protect what suits our identity.
“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” (Gospel Acclamation)