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During Advent, we have been emphasizing the importance of slowing down to spend time with Jesus instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the secular holiday season. The world has lost sight of what we are celebrating: the coming of the Christ child into the world for our salvation.

There are three ways to spend time with Jesus: The Sacraments, Scripture, and prayer. The foundation of our lives needs to be built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” Matthew 7:21, 24-27

As we grow closer to Jesus, we can make Him present to those around us. We are called to share the real joy of Christmas with family, friends, and even strangers. So many people around us feel hopeless and live in despair. They will find happiness to the extent that they find God. To share Jesus, we need to be a disciple of Jesus, rooted and grounded in faith.

If we remain alone with our own strength, we do not succeed in building our life as a firmly established house. Our strength and our wisdom are not enough for that. Is human life therefore absurd, is it despair – a meaningless path towards death? The Gospel tells us: there is the one who is truly wise; he has found the rock, and he himself (his Word) is the rock; he himself has laid the foundation of the house.

We are wise if we leave the foolish isolation of self- realization that builds on the sand of our own ability. We are wise if we do not try in isolation, with everyone acting for himself or herself, to build the purely private house of our own individual life. It is our wisdom to build the joint house with him so that we ourselves become his living house.[1] Pope Benedict XVI (emphasis added)

Today is Gaudete Sunday! Rejoice, the Lord is coming soon!

[1] Benedict XVI, The Yes of Jesus Christ: Exercises in Faith, Hope and Love, Robert Nowell, Translator, (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1991).