As we come closer to the celebration of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, today’s readings remind us of the the need to continue preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ. Today’s readings present to us the virtues of Patience and Humility as essentials in our preparation process. In our first reading from the book of Prophet Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10, we are assured that no matter what we are going through or experiencing, God himself will come to save us. Our second reading from the letter of Saint James 5:7-10 reminds us to make our hearts firm in God in the most difficult moments of our life because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Then in the gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Matthew 11:2-11, we are informed of the humility of John the Baptist. So, how can the virtues of Patience and Humility help us to prepare ourselves and welcome Jesus into our lives and our world on Christmas Day?

Patience according to the Catholic dictionary is a form of the moral virtue of fortitude. It enables one to endure present evils without sadness or resentment in conformity with the will of God. The three grades of patience are: to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and even to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy. Hence as we prepare for the birth of Jesus, we are reminded by today’s readings of the need to endure the difficulties, hardships, sufferings that come our way as Christians and concentrate on Christ our Lord, who is coming to grant us salvation. This means that our Advent practices of prayer, mortification and examination of conscience should be accompanied by the virtue of Patience to help us persevere and grow in faith, bear difficulties and hardships that come our way and filled with spiritual joy, deepen our love of God.

Humility according to the Catholic dictionary is a moral virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors. Religious humility recognizes one's total dependence on God; moral humility recognizes one's creaturely equality with others. Hence, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, we are reminded in the gospel reading of the humility of John the Baptist to help us focus more on God and not on ourselves. This virtue while pointing out our love for God and neighbor, emphasizes our dependence on God and the need for Him in our lives.

My dear brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the Guadete Sunday today, let us rejoice in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by truly preparing ourselves to welcome Him into our lives on Christmas Day by inculcating the virtues of Patience and Humility into our daily living