Monday, 19 December 2016

Advent 30 Day Retreat: Week 4 Day 22

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani

 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:20

When I was 21, I joined a Diocesan youth group, ‘Christ Encounter Renewal’. The long name destined the group to become known as C.E.R.  While abbreviations and acronyms are practical, they can also reduce the power of identity. Rather like removing ‘Christ’ from ‘Christmas’, or changing St. Vincent de Paul to Vinnies, to the uninformed they provide little insight into the origins of the tradition or group.

The group formed when young people from parishes across Adelaide experienced an encounter with Christ.  It was a spectacular moment of grace and two generations later the fruits can be seen in our families, parishes and diocesan ministries.

We were like the shepherds returning to their flocks. How is it possible to continue on with life as if nothing happened? Yet unlike believers in other gospel stories, the shepherds didn’t leave everything behind in order to follow God.  

Not all of us are called to leave the ordinariness of daily life to follow Christ. Yet like the shepherds, all of us are called to ‘return glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.’  

The invitation to encounter Jesus stands today. The historical account of the first Christmas is undoubtedly spectacular.  Even more spectacular is the fact that the invitation to encounter Jesus still stands today.

Let's use these last days of Advent to accept God’s invitation to experience, or deepen, our personal relationship with Jesus His Son.