Daily Office Lections: Amos 2:6-16; 2 Peter 1:1-11; Matthew 21:1-11
*The readings are taking from the Daily Office lectionary. As a point of liturgical education, there is a Eucharistic Lectionary (i.e. readings for Sunday Mass) and a Daily Office Lectionary (i.e. readings for morning and evening prayer, etc.). The Eucharistic Lectionary is on a three-year cycle (Years A, B, C), and the Office Lectionary is on a two-year cycle. So we are in Year A/2. The readings can be found in the back of the Prayer Book.
At All Souls, for spiritual formation during Advent, we are challenging the church to do at least one of the daily office readings per day. The schedule of readings can be found in the Advent Guide. Today's reading is 2 Peter 1:1-11.
As I read this morning's epistle (we had a good conversation yesterday at youth group about epistles, namely, what they are. An epistle comes from the Greek word for 'letter'), I couldn't help but think of the collect for the First Sunday of Advent:
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
God has given us the grace that we need to keep a holy Advent, to live the Christian life, to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. As Peter writes, God "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). You have everything you need for life and godliness for by virtue of your Baptism, the Holy Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, dwells in you (Romans 6)!
But Peter is calling the Church to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18), to cooperate with grace; in Pauline terms -- to walk in the Spirit. Thus, having faith in Christ includes necessarily faithfulness to Christ ---- "giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity" (2 Peter 5:1-7).
The above verses are nothing less than an ascetical path, a ladder of divine ascent whereby we become what we were created to be, namely, "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). We were created by God, for God, to see God. And we grow in our union with him, by participating in the life of Christ's Body. We put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light by being diligent in prayer, faithfully receiving the Sacraments, and perpetually devoting all we do to the Lord.
These disciplines during Advent have as their goal, a deeper union with our Lord. So let us be eager and diligent, as Peter urges us, by faithfully, daily seeking the Lord in the reading of Scripture and in prayer.