Advent Reflection


Recognizing Our Need for God

By Fr. Erl Dylan Tabaco

The season of Advent gives us an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the coming of our savior in our lives. Unless we recognize our need for God we won't appreciate what advent season is all about. There is a tendency among us that we celebrate Christmas without a deeper understanding of how important advent season is and how it would affect our faith life if we go through a certain process of preparation. Like any activity, program or celebration it always needs a preparation. Think of the many things that we do each day, whether in school, in a workplace or in our community. As much as we can, we always give our best effort in order to achieve a better result of whatever things that we want to accomplish. Thus, preparation is necessary. If this is the way we do with temporal things, how much more should we do with things that have a lasting effect on us like our faith which is built in a relationship? This is what advent is telling us. This is what advent wants from us. We need to prepare, and we can only prepare if we have a discerning heart that leads us to reflect what kind of life that we have. Does our life mirror what advent teaches us?

It is good to reflect how much we desire to know God and His will for all of us. Is our desire to know Him greater than any earthly desires that we have? Does our desire to know Him occupy greater spaces in our hearts? Does our desire to know Him give us energy and passion to renew our lives and make deeper commitments in life such as establishing good relationships with ourselves, others and ultimately to God? Establishing connection that is built on trust, respect, love, compassion and care is the foundation why we are preparing and celebrating the coming of our savior. Let us be open to how God works in our lives so we may understand His will for all of us.

The Gospels teach how God moves in ordinary ways. The Lord always identified Himself with the lowly, the outcast and the voiceless members of our community for it is them who are always open to God's revelation of Himself. Their need for God is more than any other needs that they have. They rely on God's providence which makes them authentic recipients of what the kingdom of God can offer. Their total dependence on God is the best learning experience that we could have as Christians for nothing that does not flow from the grace of God.

Jesus is praising His Father for He has hidden heavenly things from the wise and the learned and made them known to little ones. Those things were hidden from the wise for they cannot accept that God's ways are different from their ways. God operates in the way we least expected. He always does the better and lowly way. It takes humility to understand how God's way operates in us. When the ego is full then accepting God's revelation of Himself through His son, a God-made man who humbled Himself and took the form of a servant is impossible.

In a world where being famous, powerful and wealthy is highly regarded, it imposes a constant challenge for all of us since our values are affected by it. It is difficult for God to work in the hearts of those people who are blinded and seduced by these self-centered desires. When we are honest with ourselves we realize that at some point in our lives we operate in this way. We always long for more thinking that having more will give us a happy and fulfilled life. All our earthly desires will never run dry and never give us satisfaction for it is only our need of God that can quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. Recognizing God in our lives like those little ones did is what the Lord wants from us.

This is the message that the Gospel wants to convey. A message of hope for those who are willing to let go of all those short-lived desires in exchange for a lasting fulfillment that only the love of God can give. We can only accept God's self-love revelation once we are open to His invitation. He cannot impose this on us for He has given us the freedom to choose for our lives. It takes openness for Him to enter into our lives. Openness only happens when we have humble hearts like the little ones whom He praised in the Gospel. It is only in humility that we recognize how much we need God in our lives. It is in humility that we realize that there is nothing in life that we can achieve without God. It is in humility that helps us discover the providence of God that whatever we have and everything that we enjoy here on earth comes only from Him.

Let us pray in this season of advent that our preparation will always give us a humble heart so that the Lord can do great things for us. May our humility continue to grow in us as we keep the spark of hope burning in our hearts in every preparation that we do each day waiting for His coming. Amen!

Fr. Erl Dylan Tabaco was recently ordained as a Columban priest.    

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