Monday of the First Week of Advent | Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Intention: That the start of this Advent will herald for us a time of prayer and conversion as we return our hearts and our lives to the work of building God’s Kingdom of peace, justice, and love.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
A Short Reflection for the First Monday of Advent
As blessed as our world is, it is also in many ways a broken place. We know this from the cries of those who live in pain, who suffer for want of comfort, of healing, of justice. It was to answer those cries that God sent to us his Son, so that all people might know the heart of his will. We see in Jesus’ compassion and works the life to which we are called: protecting the innocent, welcoming the stranger, feeding the empty, freeing the oppressed. And there are to be no conditions or boundaries to our love, just as there are none to God’s love for us. The living gift we have received will continue to live only if we continue to give it. The time of Advent is a time for realizing that the world’s liberation from sin begins with us liberating ourselves from our own hardened hearts.
Eternal Father, in this holy time of Advent, we look to celebrate when you came to this earth as one of us. You revealed your Word in a humble infant, showing us the power of your presence and the fullness of your love. Your gift to us would inspire us to faith in your promise of shalom, of peace in your perfection. In this Advent, may we grow in this faith as we seek to build the lives to which your Son called us. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.