It is a challenge to focus on presence during a time of year obsessed with presents! However, today’s Gospel invites us to do just that.
We hear again that familiar story of an angel of the Lord appearing in a dream to Joseph, the husband of Mary. Among other verses, the angel quotes the prophet Isaiah that a “virgin shall be with child . . . and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” In other words, God will be in our presence in the person of Jesus.
At every mass, we remember this presence as God touches our ordinary lives in transforming the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. In the prayer of adoration, we experience the love of God in the abiding presence of Jesus Christ. We are missioned at the end of mass to witness God’s presence in how we treat one another. Imbued with the belief that “God is with us,” we are sensitized to the presence of God in every act of justice and love, in the most ordinary acts of selflessness and care for others, in nature.
In Laudato si’, Pope Francis wrote this beautiful line: The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found . . . in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face” (233).
Advent is a time to prepare for and pay attention to the birth of God’s presence in the baby Jesus, born in poverty, in a foreign land, surrounded by animals and nature.
In this final week before Christmas, let us contemplate the presence of God in our midst and, in turn, strive to be more keenly present to the people and world around us.
Let Us Pray:
Dear Lord, we thank you for your daily presence. Heighten our awareness of your presence in the ordinary events of our lives. Touch our hearts and minds to be your presence to the checkout person, that obnoxious neighbor, the beggar, the mom with the crying baby, each person we rub elbows with this day.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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