December 1st, 2013 – First Sunday of Advent – Year A

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The readings for this first Sunday of Advent remind us that the spiritual life is a journey. Any trip takes preparation and effort. It can be easier, more comfortable to stay where we are sleepwalking through life. But if we embark on the trip there are rewards, new experiences, new friends, great photos, and we rarely return as the same person who left. Our pilgrim journey is no different. The prophet Isaiah compares the spiritual journey to climbing a mountain. It requires wakefulness and effort to reach the summit. The sacrament of Reconciliation might seem like an insurmountable peak especially if we have been coasting on the plains for a while but this effort need not be a burden if we keep in mind the purpose of the journey and what awaits us at the top. The real reward of the spiritual journey is union with God through Jesus Christ, which we experience as a deep peace. So this Advent put on your hiking shoes and take up your response to the Psalmist: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!

How can you stay awake and increase your awareness of the presence of God from moment to moment? Examine where your paths, your choices, are leading you.