The sights and sounds of the season are in full swing and even the snow has arrived early. In the midst of all the noise our spirits wait for the cry of a “newborn”. Last week I became a great-uncle for the 7th time, her name is Clare. What a joy! Rejoice with me! We can only imagine the joy of Mary and Joseph and all the angels as they waited expectantly for the great change that the Christ would bring to a world that was victimized by one war after another.
Even today in the midst of all the frivolity and busyness we are constantly reminded that WE ARE STILL AT WAR!!!: War against terrorism, abuse, drugs, broken marriages, threats to our Catholic Moral Convictions and teachings, poverty, climatic catastrophes, etc., etc.. We must forever be on guard lest the temptation of complacency blind us to the very real dangers of our time. This may seem like a negative Advent message but it is also the very message of hope and warning that are in our scriptures.
Today is Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy. It is joyful because scripture reminds us that our God, in the midst of war and other disasters, made a promise that would be fulfilled in the hearts and minds of all believers. He not only promised a Messiah but actually delivered by sending Jesus the Christ to free us from our sins and make possible eternal life. Hear again what our God has promised: Eternal Life, heavenly peace, justice and unconditional love. He did not promise our life would be easy, that we would win the lottery, that every prayer would be answered on our terms and that we would not be sick or persecuted. He did however promise that we would give us joy to balance our afflictions and the promise of eternal life to overcome our doubts and fears. Is this enough? If not, he also reminds us that we are “at war” and for those who choose to follow his discipline, victory is assured. Like John the Baptist, we are challenged to stand firm in our convictions, like Isaiah, we are encourage to spread a message of hope and like St. Paul, we are reminded to be patient and not complain. Wouldn’t you like these gifts in your Christmas stocking? Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened and may your Christmas be overflowing with the generosity of the God of Love.
The first grade class presented a Nativity play. When Joseph came to the inn and asked if there was room the little boy playing the innkeeper replied, “You’re lucky. We just had a cancellation.” Any room in your life for Jesus?
Celebrate with us this Sunday afternoon with the Angelus Chorus Concert at 3:00!!!
Many thanks to the Radzieta family for again donating 2014 calendars. God Bless!!!
NEWS FLASH! The 12 Days of Christmas Gifts now cost $27,393.17. This is an increase of 7.7% over last year.
This week in the “For Better Or For Worse” comic we see young Mike Patterson looking through a catalogue and saying “Hey, I want, Hey, I want…..” His mother tells him that Christmas is a time for Giving and he replies: “I know I want someone to give me one of these and one of these and one of these….”
In the midst of all the confusion and misdirection that attacks and surround this Holy Season of Advent we hear the words of St. Paul and the gift that he prays that we will accept: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
John the Baptist reminds us, again, of the adventius, the coming of the new wind, which is the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit will prepare us for the gift of forgiveness which is the true “reason for the season”.
Advent is time of active listening and waiting. Active waiting means that we celebrate our Christianity each day and realize that like Mary and Joseph we are an “Expectant Family” and are called to do everything we can to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Advent is a time of taking our personal inventory and making sure that the Christ child will find a welcome in our lives. This week John the Baptist roars through the Scriptures reminding us that he is a messenger of both promise and doom. In the desert of the material and secular world his is the only voice that really makes sense. 1st century Palestine, much like it is today, was an area torn by war, ravaged by disease and devoid of hope. The messages of John were a beacon of hope in a desperate world and people flocked to hear him challenge them, berate them, humble them and console them. His message is ever more meaningful and necessary today because it is the eternal message of the Creator God who demands our worship and obedience, hear it clearly: “I send my messenger before you to prepare the way: a herald’s voice in the desert, crying, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path.’” Is the path to your inner sanctum clear and clean? Try Reconciliation and adoration, they work!!