During the mass we remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and we are to be offering ourselves and our tithe to God. At least we are to be acknowledging Jesus’ sacrifice of himself as the one true sacrifice that took away our sins. We are also to be submitting ourselves as a sacrifice and to be repeating the words of Christ, “I come to do your will.”
Think of the symbolism that takes place as the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins. Our tithe is brought forth and is present in the sanctuary as we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. What we have given to God is there as an offering of ourselves to do God’s will just as Christ gave himself to do God’s will.
Today Paul reminds us as we prepare ourselves to encounter Christ, how God’s love overcomes every obstacle keeping us from his embrace, including our own desire to please him by our offerings. By our sacrifice and offerings, we believe we are doing something to make ourselves worthy of the promises of God. How many times must we hear the words of scripture telling us He does not desire our offerings and our sacrifices, but he desires our hearts before we offer anything else to God? I invite you today, in a few minutes from now as the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins to do more than just saying the words “we lift up our hearts to God” but to actually lift your heart to God. Say to God, here is my heart, take it and change it to a heart that seeks to do your will.
That is exactly what we are celebrating each time we gather to celebrate the liturgy – the surrender of Christ to God’s will and his dying in order to reconcile us to God. One sacrifice, offered up once for all time and somehow, we have this tendency to do things to earn our salvation. Don’t be fooled by the Christmas story, the child in the manger, angels singing and shepherds kneeling in awe. The infant in the manger, the entire Christmas story lulls to sleep. For four weeks, Advent has been preparing us to encounter Christ. IN two days, on Christmas day we will get caught up in the songs, the beautiful decorations, the joyous mood of everyone and the generous giving to family and to strangers.
As we approach Christmas, look beyond the manger to discover the heart of God, the Father whose plan for our salvation began that day. Discover the love of Jesus, his Son, who took on the form of a human, an infant dependent on Joseph and Mary for food and for his security as he grew and awaited the Fathers plan. Discover the forgiving heart of the Father as Jesus frees us from sin and death. Discover how we are now the messengers of the gospel message of God’s love and mercy.
I invite you this final Sunday of Advent to allow all you have done to prepare for his coming to culminate in one single act. At the time we respond to the Lamb of God, lift up your heart and offer it to God. Don’t just say the words “we lift them up to the Lord” but in a silent prayer offer God your heart. By that single act you will be offering God what he desires most from you, a contrite heart. A willingness to acknowledge all acts of piety have not been an offering of our hearts because all our acts of piety have been “offered according to the law.”
Then say to God, I come to do your will and I believe that what you desire for me will be done according to your word.
Come Lord Jesus Come and be Born in our hearts.