Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Today we begin a new year of our liturgical calendar. So happy New Year to you all! I love this time of Advent and Christmas. It is the most beautiful time of the year. It a time of hope for we reflect at this time on the coming of Christ and his Second Coming. It is a time of Joy for we prepare ourselves to receive the greatest gift that we can ever have JESUS CHRIST born in Bethlehem. The readings take us right into the spirit of the season. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah prays for God’s active presence so that the Jewish community, returned from Babylonian exile, may remain faithful to their God. In the second reading, St. Paul prays for the reconversion of Christians in Corinth who have misused their gifts and charisms and remain ill-prepared for Christ’s Second Coming. In today’s Gospel, using the short parable of the servants and gate-keeper of an absentee master who could return at any time, Jesus instructs his followers to be alert and watchful while doing their Christian duties with sincerity. The gate-keeper and the household servants are expected to be ever-vigilant because their master is sure to return. The time of his return is uncertain, but the reward or punishment is sure and certain. Years ago, when 20th Century Fox advertised in the New York papers to fill a vacancy in its sales force, one applicant replied: “I am at present selling furniture at the address below. You may judge my ability as a salesman if you will stop in to see me at any time, pretending that you are interested in buying furniture. When you come in, you can identify me by my red hair. And I should have no way of identifying you. Such salesmanship as I exhibit during your visit, therefore, will be no more than my usual workday approach and not a special effort to impress a prospective employer.” From among more than 1500 applicants, this guy got the job. Jesus wants us to be ready like that man. We don’t know when He’s coming back, so we should be prepared all the time. Like the parents who trust their teenagers to look after the house while they are away, or like the teacher who leaves the classroom after giving her students plenty of work to do, Jesus trusts us to carry out his work until he returns. There is the work of witnessing to Jesus in our daily lives. There is the work to be done in our families, our schools, our local churches and our community. There is the work of caring for those who are hurting and have needs. There is the work of guiding and leading others, pointing people to the comforting message of the Gospel. There is the work of living “lives holy and dedicated to God,” “doing our best to be pure and faultless in God’s sight and to be at peace with him” At the First Coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his Second Coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the First Coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the Second Coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look, then, beyond the First Coming and await the Second. At the First Coming we said: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” At the Second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. His First Coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach us by gentle persuasion. This time, whether people like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom, by necessity. Again the gospel reminds us also that we should not be so foolish as to forget God and become immersed in worldly matters. Using Christ’s parable, the Church reminds us of the alertness and preparation needed for the four-fold coming of Jesus into our lives, namely: at the celebration of His Incarnation during this Christmas season, in His active presence in our daily lives, at the moment of our death, and in his final coming in glory at the end of the world.
God Bless You,