Thoughts on today's Mass, the first Sunday of Advent:
Giving our gifts to the Lord at the presentation of gifts: giving our sacrifices, our pain, our suffering, and our gifts to the Lord. We give our gifts to the Lord on His altar. As we do so, our gifts are binded with Christ. Our gifts are made holier, more useful, more Christ-like. Our gifts become one with the Lord, as they should be. Whether that is singing, or telling others about Christ, or living a Holy life, it is made so much more magnified and holy by binding them with Him, by coating them with His love. In addition, joining our pains and sacrifices with Christ's love: does it make our own crosses easier to bear, by adjoining them, blessing them, with Christ?
As the priest consecrated the bread and wine today into Christ's Body and Blood, it occurred to me that when we cleanse ourselves, wash ourselves, we do it with water. Can you imagine trying to wash something to make it clean again by using blood? Yet, that is what Jesus has done. He has washed away our sins, our barrier to Heaven, with His Blood. It's hard to imagine being doused in blood and coming out pure and white. But that IS what happens. We then run pure and clean as a freshly fallen rain. The rain meets the earth and its sinful ways, and we become stained with dirt and mud. We can use the water of this earth to cleanse us, or we can use the sacrifice that He has made for us and have it washed away with blood. While being washed with His Blood, it seems impossible that the suffering that we are going through will bring us out to the other side clean and clear. Faith is believing that this is not only possible, but it is true.
I also read the prayers of the faithful today, along with the first reading of Scripture. One of the prayers is for those recently departed souls, which choked me up as I thought of my uncle. As I returned to the pew for more prayers and the blessings of the gifts, I thought more of my uncle, and looked around the crowd. It was a good sized crowd, perhaps 300 or 400. Chances are fairly high that others lost loved ones this week. Even as I had tears in my eyes missing my sweet uncle, I praised God and thanked Him, for in my estimation, few people had lived a holier or more dedicated life to the Lord than my uncle. How blessed and lucky am I, and how blessed is he, that he was able to rejoice for the Lord, in all ways, and honor our Lord the way he did.
Today's responsorial psalm was from Psalm 122:
Let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord.
I know that my uncle went rejoicing to the House of the Lord this week, and that he was joined in singing and dancing with those that have went before him, including his parents, my grandparents. I imagined them dancing and singing, although I have never seen them do that on this earth; what better place to do so than Heaven?