PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
AND MAKE STRAIGHT HIS PATH!
CALL HIM EMMANUEL—GOD WITH US.
These are some of the gospel themes for the Sundays of Advent 2015.
STAY AWAKE! No, not just to hear my homily, but to allow Advent to be a time of reawakening to the significance of the birth of THE CHRIST, the entering into human history of the only begotten Son of God, Son of Man.
PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD! Advent is a time of cleaning the house of our mortal souls, tidying up our spiritual lives so that the Son of Justice may enter, and so that nothing might distract us from the obvious—”Jesus is the reason for the season.”
CALL HIM EMMANUEL—
GOD WITH US.
I cannot but help notice that this First Sunday of Advent includes the words of the Prophet Jeremiah: “In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure.” This is the heart of the Holy Land we’re talking about! The Middle East! Where more would we like to see justice and peace take root than in this area of the world? Jeremiah says that such restoration and redemption will flow from “the Root of Jesse—a just shoot for David.” In other words, salvation shall come from the City of David—Bethlehem. We are all called to the rebirth of Christ in ourselves and then, in these times so needed, promote the Incarnation of the Savior in our homes, our country, and in the world. “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” says St. Paul. He also says that we should “conduct ourselves to please God.” Upon birth, Jesus and his family became refugees from terrorism. Yes they did. And most definitely those that sheltered and protected them—until it was safe to go home—indeed pleased God.
As your pastor, I urge our faith community of St. Rita to take our Advent 2015 seriously. Let us not allow Christmas Eve to arrive by surprise. As families, observing Advent could just be the most rewarding stocking stuffer. Lighting the candles of an Advent wreath in the home of a senior living alone could be the assurance that Jesus continues to be light for the journey. Decorating homes and the planning of parties can still be Advent awakening and awareness when the Christ child and the Holy Family are frequently mentioned as the reason why. The wrapping and giving of gifts can be done with a prayer of thanksgiving that each gift be a reminder of the greatest gift when “God so loved the world….” Let us allow Advent to move beyond liturgical observance to real connection and, well Jesus’ incarnation all around us. Let’s milk Advent for all its worth!