2nd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes.
God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.
The 2nd Sunday of Advent is devoted in the Church to pondering the virtue of Faith.
At the most fundamental level, to be a Christian means to have faith in Christ and, by extension, His Church. To trust in His Love for us; to trust that He knows us and will care for us; and, most of all, that He has paid the price for our sin through his sacrifice on the Cross.
But Faith is more than trust or blind belief – Faith requires a relationship to be there. In the same way a child relies on their parent, and trusts that they will look after them – there is a relationship underlying that trust. One of authority, of special knowledge and, most importantly of love.
So when Paul writes to the Philippians, “God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you” he is willing them, not only to grown in love but in Faith. And when he reminds them of the love he has for them, he is reminding them of the gift of Faith that endures. We can often hear our Evangelical brothers and sisters boast of their “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” – but that personal relationship is fundamental to faith.
So as Love is fundamental to Faith, and Faith fundamental to Hope (as we explored last week) – we see that all virtue connects us to “…the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God“.