Helping our Faith to grow

I love the aspect of Advent which makes us slow down, especially in the midst of all the busyness that goes on
preparing for Christmas. I noticed that just the act of lighting the Advent candle, by its very nature, makes us take a breath and slow down, even for just a few moments. I love the Advent wreath because it has such symbolism tied to the Christmas and Advent seasons, and all to our faith journey. For instance, the circle of the wreath symbolises the eternity of God (the Alpha and the Omega). The wreath is green because it represents hope and new life. Advent is really a time when we need to step back and perhaps slow down a bit, to become more pensive and thoughtful in our approach. That may be why we hear in our readings today that St. John the Baptist was a voice “crying out in the desert.” And what was John’s consistent message? “Prepare the way of the Lord.” That is what we hear throughout Holy Scripture on this Second Sunday of Advent.
Learning even simple things like what I just mentioned about the Advent wreath helps me to grow in my faith. That I believe, is why it is so important to teach the many aspects of our faith to our children, because it is so rich and learning often helps us grow in our faith. Every word in Holy Scripture has some importance. When St. Mark
proclaims that what he is writing, and what we are about to hear, is the “Gospel of Jesus Christ,” it tells us how I
mportant it is. Most are aware that the word “Gospel” meant “Good News.” Fewer are conscious of the fact that in
Roman times it had another meaning and translation — “Glad tidings.” When we hear that term, many may think of Christmas and the birth of Christ. However, glad tidings or good news also includes Christ’s saving grace and death. It goes back to what we have been hearing in recent weeks that it is time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Part of that preparation is to prepare the way of the Lord, especially within each of us. That is what we need to be doing now.
We had a lovely experience in my own family when we read Monday’s reading about the centurion, and how he had such a strong faith in Jesus, that he went personally to find Jesus and ask him to heal his servant. Just reading through that reading and seeing the faith of the centurion helped me and my family grow a little more in faith. This Advent, let us grow together as families and as a faith community in order for Christmas to be an even more blessed event. God bless you all, Deacon Dan MacDonald

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