Teach me your Paths
(1st Sunday of Advent: Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-36)
Today we begin Year C in the Church’s three-year liturgical cycle. We have been this way before, and much will be familiar. Still, it is a new year, a new spiritual journey, for we have changed, as has the world around us.
Every journey has a starting point and a final destination. So let us make ours the words of today’s Psalm: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me.” We do not want to lose our way.
There will be a number of stops along the way. The first will be in Bethlehem, as we celebrate the coming of the promised Messiah.
We hear in the first reading, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made... I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land.” The One who is to come will teach by word and example.
At La Salette, the Weeping Mother appeared to two children to give a message of hope, that promises made would be fulfilled. She was offering guidance to a people that was not doing what was right and just. They were on a path that did not lead toward God but away from God.
Mary is also urging us to be faithful in prayer. We should want to pray worthily, that is, from the heart, asking the Lord to always direct our steps on the path toward him.
The second reading is from Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, which is full of instruction intended to keep the young Christian community on the right path. Here, in the context of Christ’s return, we read: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” This reminds us that we are connected to others, on the same path with us.
Jesus tells us to be vigilant. “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.” We cannot afford to stray from the way he shows us as he guides us.
Most of the Gospel readings in Year C will come from Luke’s Gospel. Let us allow him to be our guide, leading us along a path toward God, who is the source of all we need and hope for.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.