The readings for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time suggest there is no limit to our participation in Godliness. The first reading states: "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." That's our open invitation to allow God to possess us with His holiness. He doesn't limit our participation in His goodness.
In seeking the greatest gift, what we are looking for isn't a rich man to bail us out of poverty, but rather the One who lived in poverty, died as a criminal and now invites us into His poverty. The greatest gift that we receive from God is the very hunger to seek Him.
This seeking is much like our body looking for the next breath. The air we inhale isn't ours, and we can't hold on to it, but we have to exhale it so as to seek more of what we can't possess. Yet this constant seeking gives us life and energy.
Perhaps the responsorial psalm for the third Sunday in Ordinary Time summarizes God's movement in the day's readings. God answers mankind's hunger for the infinite and He is man's light, salvation and refuge.
He alone speaks to the deepest hunger for the infinite placed in the heart of man. "One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple," the psalmist wrote. "Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord."
The feast of the Birth of Jesus is perhaps the most attractive feast of the liturgical year. Children, adults and elders gaze into the manger at the "infant wrapped in swaddling clothes" and are speechless in awe and admiration.
How could an infinitely great God show more affection for fallen mankind than by becoming a helpless baby, born in a stable and placed in a manger? Normally, babies were born in the family home, surrounded by extended family, to provide support for the mother and father.
On Dec. 11, the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate "Gaudete" Sunday. The entrance antiphon exhorts us to: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near." The readings blend twin calls to have hope and patience.
The first reading from Isaiah celebrates the marvelous future transformation of the parched land and the desert into a land that "will bloom with abundant flowers and rejoice with joyful song." "They will see the glory of the Lord and the splendor of our God."