The great question for each of us on this First Sunday of Advent is: Do I have a powerful hope in Christ? When you hear the words from our gospel today, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,” how do they stir your heart?
The gift of the Spirit constitutes in a real way an immediate entry into eternal life; for by virtue of the indwelling Spirit the Christian shares in God’s own divine nature.
Fasting and Abstinence. Are they important? Are they necessary? The Church, as a caring mother, is providing us a specific means and season for completing acts of penance, such as fasting and abstinence. Her goal is to see to it that her children attain eternal life. Her precept on fasting, then, is for our spiritual benefit.
The spiritual benefits of fasting are many. Not only is it an excellent means of engaging in penance, as Christians are required to do, but it confers other benefits such as helping to build self-mastery, the control of the soul over the desires of the flesh.
The lenten discipline of fasting opens up the true horizon of life’s meaning, purifying us of unhealthy material attachments and opening the way for the eternal Word to penetrate our hearts.