Monday, November 28, 2016

Come Lord Jesus

Come Lord Jesus

Fr Andrzej Skrzypiec homily, 1st Sunday of Advent, 8:30AM Mass

A NEW YEAR in the Church’s calendar begins today. Happy new year to all!

This period is appropriately called “Advent”.  It comes from the Latin word adventus which simply means ‘coming’.  But what or whose coming are we talking about? 

Actually, at this time we can speak of three comings of God. 
·       The first, is when Jesus, the Son of God came to be born in the stable at Bethlehem. 
·       But today’s Mass also speaks of the final coming of Jesus at the end of the world. 
·       And there is still a third kind of coming we need to be aware of, namely, when God enters our lives every day. 
Every single experience can be an opportunity to make contact with God.  And we are reminded of that ongoing contact with God especially in the celebration of the sacraments, including this Eucharist.

The Church is pleading with us be vigilant to the many ways in which Jesus, through his Spirit, is coming into our lives now, filling our hearts with grace and inviting us to a closer union with God and to a more loving relationship with others.

Isaiah reminds us that our God is faithful to us always and knows about the situation we are in.  Our God is always moving to bring us together. 

-What is the coming together? 
Isaiah says, “that God may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” 

Our only real hope of coming together is to come together in greater fidelity to our GodThe closer we come to our God, the closer we will come toward each other.  It will no longer be about a winning and losing – about victory over the other..  When this hope-filled unity comes, Isaiah says,
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

Each of us can find a desire in our hearts that sings, “Let us go rejoicing” to this kind of communion and peace. 

St. Paul says, it is a time for us to “wake from sleep.”  This is a season to “throw off” many things that are all about darkness and to “put on the armor of light,” to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I guess there are dark areas in all of our lives.  Things we do, things we say, things we think, the indulging of our lower and self-centered appetites; things which we would not like other people to know about because they are quite wrong.  They do no good to me or to others.

But there is also goodness in all of us that God with his grace can release and intensify.

Advent is about recognizing that God is already with us and in us.  All we have to do is to be awake to God’s presence in our hearts.

How do we do that?

We do it through our personal prayer, prayer with the community at the Eucharistic table, through acts of charity and love by which we will the good of the other.

This wonderful season is about recognizing our own weakness yet feeling how deeply God cares for us, even in our deepest failings. Our renewed preparation to follow Christ might start with a sense of obligation or fear. But as we grow closer to him we begin to follow him out of love. Our fear is purified by love. We are faithful to the gospel out of a real desire to be closer to him.

Could this Advent season be one in which I give myself to more opportunities for togetherness, for bridge building?  We can indeed get involved in building bridges in our divided nation or even in the world with all its problems.

Sometimes genuine healing and reconciliation needs to begin  in our families by letting light into places of darkness.

Concretely, can this Advent be about continuing gestures of love for a spouse who often bugs me? 

Can this be a time to reach out to the adult child who has disappointed me – whom I might have hurt by my judgments? 

What nice, caring, generous things can I do that build a bridge, without recalling a hurt or continuing my finger pointing?

Then I can move a little further:

 Is there a friend or neighbor or church community member I have recently fought with about our differing opinions about something?  Could a coffee or tea together be a time to let Advent come alive by spending time saying that our relationship is more important than our differing ideas?

As we find these ways of preparing, we can pray, with growing desire, “Come, Lord Jesus.  We await your coming.  Come O Lord. If we are closer to you we will be closer to one another”

Marana Tha - Come Lord Jesus.

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