"I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."--Luke 10:21

In today's readings, the theme of "knowledge of the Lord" emerges most prominently. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that knowing God is more than knowing about God.

In his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), Pope Benedict wrote that: "[b]eing Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

During this Advent season, the Church invites us to slow down and to know more intimately the Lord of our lives. The Jesus who will come at Christmas and at the end of time is also present among us right now in the grittiness of our daily lives.

December 3rd is also the feast of the great Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier. His life reminds us that the faith isn't something to be possessed, but shared. 

We often think of missionaries as persons in far away lands, but the truth is that we're all called to be missionaries of God's love and mercy.

According to Pope Francis, a missionary is someone who "warms hearts and heals wounds." A missionary Church, he says, belongs in the streets and is "bruised, hurt and dirty."

As you go throughout your day, consider some questions: how has God made himself known to you during these first days of Advent? And how can you more deeply share his love with those you encounter?

As we walk further into this journey towards Christmas, let's pray that God gives us the spirit of a child, of someone who is magnanimous and open to the surprises of the Lord and willing to share this love with others.