A Time of Preparing, A Reflection for Second Sunday of Advent 2009
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD, Pastor Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday and I personally believe that it is a very appropriate name but not for the reasons that it was coined. I feel it is appropriate because it begins a time when people are more concerned with the commercial aspects of Christmas rather than the true meaning of the word. Christmas is really a conjunction of Christ and Mass
The word Christmas comes from "Cristes Maesse", an early English phrase that means "Mass of Christ and the word "Mass" in religious usage means a "death sacrifice." The first recorded celebration of the birth of Christ was about 200 AD and the choice of the date was more to placate pagans and have a celebration that coincided with the Winter Solstice.
Christmas is really the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ who would become the ultimate and final sacrifice.
What is missing these days is the reason for Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ who became the ultimate sacrifice or “Mass” for the forgiveness of our sins and to open the doors of heaven to all people.
Today we find most people are centered on shopping for the perfect Christmas gift, decorating their home with lights and trimming, and planning parties. The season of Advent is supposed to be a time when Christians focus on the promises Christ made to us and examine themselves as to how they are living in accord with the guidelines Christ gave us.
The word Advent comes from the Latin “Adventus” which means coming or arrival.
The Aramaic word is “Marantha” which means “The Lord Cometh”. So, in essence, it means to look forward to the Coming of our Savior. The word also has roots from the Latin “Ad” meaning to or toward and “Veni” meaning to come.
The season is one of expectation and anticipation of something that is to happen in the future.
The Gospel reading for this second Sunday of Advent has the foretelling words of the Prophet Isaiah “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
The redeemer promised by Isaiah would be one that made all things right by becoming the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humans. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we have the ability to have our sins (mistakes) forgiven and we have the right to the ultimate gift from God, eternal life.
My question is; “Are we living our lives “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready)- the Coast Guard's motto?
When Christ was asked when the He will come to claim His kingdom. His answer was “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father” (MATTHEW 24:35-37)
If we never know when we will have to face the Lord isn’t it wise to always be prepared?
All around us today we see the forces of evil using the same tools that Satan used from the beginning of time to challenge God‘s dominion. Satan tempted Adam and Eve with it "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (GENESIS 3:4-6).
The Devil even tempted Christ “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." (MATTHEW 4:8-9)
Satan’s tool of temptation is “GREED“, The desire for power, fame, wealth and superiority.
Just this last week we saw two people sneak into a State Dinner so that they could mingle with the rich and famous and get publicity.
Every ad for Black Friday has featured luxury things that one can have but no where did I see ads for feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick or being a companion to the lonely and aged.
People want to accumulate more wealth, far in excess of what they need for everyday needs, because it is perceived as success. Even some Religious Institutions have compromised the basic teachings of Jesus Christ in order to attain power and wealth.
Children are starving and dying all over the world because of poverty and wars while millions of food is wasted and thrown in the garbage and trillions of dollars are spent to wage war.
The time is now for us to begin to place Christ at the center of our lives, to put the real meaning of Christmas back into the holiday for without CHRIST there is no Christmas.
Let us truly prepare ourselves by asking God for forgiveness of our failure to live according to His teachings. Let us be more mindful of the needs of others by contributing to charitable organizations and return a portion of God’s gifts to us by supporting ministries that proclaim Christ’s message of infinite and everlasting mercy, forgiveness and love for all His children. I leave you with the following prayer.
An Advent Prayer
Come, long expected Jesus. Excite in me a wonder at the wisdom and power of Your Father and ours. Receive my prayer as a part of my service of the Lord who enlists me in God’s work for justice.
Come, long expected Jesus. Excite in me a joyful response to the Father’s joy. I seek His will so I can serve Him with gladness and love.
Come, long expected Jesus. Excite in me the love and peace that is a rightful gift to bring to the manger of Our Savior. Raise in me an honest reverence for God and a honest gratitude for His gift of His son to the world.
Come, Long expected Jesus. Fill me with your peace and guide me in my service to you as I attempt to live according to your teaching.
Come, Long expected Jesus. Strengthen me so that I may be your instrument of bringing peace and harmony to all I encounter on my daily journey through life.
I ask these things in your name Jesus as you live and reign with the Father, Almighty God, and the Holy Spirit as one God, now and forever unto the ages of ages. AMEN
Yahoo Blog/profile: http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/B6ME5L3RW6CCR4L66ZLAE54REE
Please help us spread the message of God's infinite love for ALL His children by making a donation to our ministry. You can do so by using the PAYPAL links on our web site; www.missionstsergius.org or by sending donations to MISSION STS. SERGIUS 7 BACCHUS
C/O MIDDLESEX SAVINGS BANK
850 WASHINGTON STREET
HOLLISTON, MA 01746
All Materials are copywriten (c) Franciscans of Divine Mercy