First Week of Advent
This week, the second reading is from 1 Corinthians 1:3-9.
Do you see the sheer brassy confidence St. Paul has in the promises of God? It’s exactly like St. Paul to talk this way – how could he not after the incredible encounter he had with Christ on the road to Damascus?
Notice that he speaks of the gifts of God as things already received. In fact he gives thanks to God that the Christian community in Corinth has been “enriched in every way”. In the same way, God enriches us in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord are hardly things to be laid aside lightly, and it is easy to forget that they have already been given to us in our baptism!
Paul reminds the Christian community that God is faithful to his promises. And we are called to wait for the fulfillment of his promises in confidence. We must trust in his power to accomplish his promises, trust in his mercy, trust that he will provide for our needs, trust that he has given us every spiritual gift and that he will keep us faithful until the day of his coming.
Our master, Jesus Christ, has gone on a long journey and will come back, expecting to find that we are about his business, seeing to the tasks that he has given to us. We do not know when he will come, and we do not need to know. What we do need to know is this: what task has the Lord given to us? Jesus gives to the disciples the same overall mission that he gives to us, to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”(Matthew 28:19–20) And then, in that same passage, Jesus gives the same promise that Paul repeats over and over throughout his letters, he says, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” But the scope of this mission is huge, no individual can hope to carry out the whole, so we must ask this same question about ourselves, in particular.
When a master goes on a journey, he leaves each servant with his own work (Mk 13:34). Not all are called to the same particular vocation. What is your vocation? To what is the Lord calling you? What natural abilities has the Lord blessed you with? How can these be put to work for the building up of the kingdom? What does he want you to contribute to the great mission he gives to his church?
Let us pray this week for the Lord to give us some insight into our vocation, and what his will is for each of our lives. Let us ask that he pour out his grace on us that we might come to understand our vocations more fully and be filled with the desire to carry it out. And let us pray in a special way for those who are discerning vocations to priesthood or religious life, that God will give them every Grace they need to hear answer his call.