December 18, 2016 — Fourth Sunday of Advent
IS 7: 10-14; PS 24: 1-6; ROM 1: 1-7; MT 1: 18-24
It is the final Sunday of Advent, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, yet because of the calendar in this year of 2016, Christmas is still a full week away. We may ask ourselves if we are prepared for Christmas, but that question may focus on the wrong things — we may be thinking of decorations and Christmas gifts and Christmas dinners.
However, the question we should be asking is “Are our souls ready for Christmas?” That should be the most important part of our Advent preparation. Is God present within us? Are we ready to welcome Christ? Do we acknowledge our need to be prepared for Christ’s Second Coming?
In his letter to the Romans, the Second Reading, St. Paul uses the phrase “the Spirit of holiness.” Paul, and in a more important way Christ Himself, calls us to holiness. Holiness is more than what we do; it has everything to do with what we are. It has to do with our very identity. Holiness is characterized by our relationship with the Lord. We are waiting for Christ, but the reality is that Christ is waiting for us. God loves us; knowing and responding to that love is holiness.
St. Teresa of Calcutta may have said it best when she stated, “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you. Yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at someone and offer them your hand.” Doing that is being holy, too; that, too, is stewardship.