November 29th: First Sunday of Advent
Dear Parish Family,
Throughout the Gospels, the Lord exhorts his followers to stay awake. Vigilance has featured prominently in his teaching and especially in his parables. In his many warnings, he impresses upon his followers a certain urgency and gravity: Keep watch. This comes as no surprise. In no ways can the Christian indulge in the slumber of unconversion. There is no standing still in the spiritual life; If you’re not growing, you’re dimin-ishing.We know from his first coming that Jesus does not overwhelm the heart of man with the revelation of his glory. His providential designs are more subtle, more attuned to our conversion. Rather, the Lord proffers an invitation, and as the giver of human liberty, works interiorly by his grace to elicit from us a truly free and personal response. At his first coming, Christ prepares for himself a people in Israel, a tabernacle in the Blessed Virgin Mary, an a body in the Incarnation. So, too, at his Second Coming, is providential delay prepares for him a Church filled with desire. And just as the Old Covenant anticipated the New, so our present poverty anticipates the riches of his return. With the prophets, our hearts cry out: “Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you.” Our present hope, and nagging unrest, is itself his gift, lest we settle for something short of every-thing. His delay is tailor-made to increase our faith, our desire, and ultimately our fulfillment.Now, that’s all well and good, but the Lord could have kindled our desire, and deepened our hopes, in any way he thought fit. And what is more, it didn’t necessarily need to take this long. So why the crucible of patience? Why keep watch? The short answer is that it makes us like our Savior Jesus Christ. To be like Christ is the very heart of Christian life. The Christian is called, not merely to be kind or nice or to follow the rules well. He is called to be like his Lord and Savior in his passion, death, and resurrection. This Christ-conformity is first given at baptism, and it grows in the sacra-mental life and in the intimacy of prayer. Each is invited to follow Christ, to imitate Christ, and so enter gradually into perfect communion with him. It is difficult to share in his suffering, but it is pre-cisely at this point that friendship with him is most profound. We must meet him at his most vulnerable—in death. And so suffering enters each human life according to God’s permission. And so, by his delay he permits us to wait and to beg, to suffer his absence to become like him. So wait for the Lord. His day is near. Keep watch.Take heart. (Horweb.com)
God bless you all!
Sister Maria Inviolata, SMDG