First Sunday of Advent
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
“O LORD, you are our father: we are all the work of your hands.” Recently, God wanted me to share with a group gathered in prayer, God’s profound desire for us to become better listeners to his Word, speaking the truth of God’s profound love for us directly to our own ears and directly to our own hearts. God shared that we can become better listeners and hearers of his word and message, his response and grace when we stop listening to the lies of others and begin to be honest about what we say and do. He wants us to pay more attention to what we are saying and to stop judging and speaking ill and false things about others and ourselves. The Lord invites us to hear what the Father has to say, what he has spoken and what God continues to say to us through his beloved Son, Jesus; God’s Word wonderfully manifested in our midst taking flesh and being born of the Virgin and coming to us and remaining with us in scripture, sacrament, priest and Eucharist. We are invited in a particular way this season to become gracious hearers of God’s Word and not be drowned by our own need to be heard, for what God has to say is ever so important, more important than what we have to say. God’s Word is a lifesaving remedy, a life-giving gift to us. There is a sense of urgency in God’s word and desire, for we are time bound and limited in days, while God’s message is timeless and urgent in spiritual nature. For we are all dying and fading away but God wills and wants us to live forever, so listen up. Listen carefully that what you are thinking and asking yourself, is that an inspiration from God or a temptation from the enemy? Listen to your own words. Who talks like that? Are your words lifesaving and giving or do they disparage a person or suck the life out of others? God’s words encourage and lift us up. His words are like sunshine on a rainy, dreary day. His words inspire and give us hope. The enemy’s words take life and threaten life for they are ever so angry, hateful, malicious, self-centered and self-absorb. Do you speak like that? Listen to your heart. It is how God speaks to us. Truly from the heart. Words that are honest, good and true. The Lord said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” You will be happy you did.