Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
Behold the Lord is coming! We heard in the first reading the prophet Isaiah says “Here is your God! Here HE comes with power, the Lord GOD” and we have heard in the gospel St. John the Baptist calling for repentance for the Lord is coming. I have shared with you this story that I heard from my mother. But I would like to repeat it.
This story happened in my place years ago, before the microphone was invented. When the pulpits were high in the center of the church. One young clergyman preaching his first sermon, was very nervous. He started with the text, “Behold I come!” Then his mind went blank. He bravely repeated, “Behold I come!” Still his frightened brain wouldn’t function. So he leaned over the pulpit and repeated the third time, “Behold I come!” At that moment breaking the railings of the pulpit he collapsed. He ended up in the lap of an elderly lady. He got up and, red-faced, stammered, “Oh, I’m sorry! Please forgive me!” The lady was not upset in the least and replied, “That’s all right. I should have been expecting you. After all you warned me three times!”
All three readings focus on the absolute necessity of our getting ready for Christ’s “Homecoming”. I believe Advent is a time we have to reflect on the three fold coming of Christ. They are the past present and future coming of Christ. We are preparing for his birthday, his first coming. We are preparing for his coming every day in to our lives and we are preparing for his future coming in glory. All three readings focus on the absolute necessity of our readying ourselves by repentance and reparation for Christ’s coming. In the first reading, Isaiah assures his people that the Lord will restore their homeland to them and care for them as a shepherd cares for the sheep. Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 85) also speaks of the return of shalom (perfect peace), and pardon to the people. St. Peter reminds us, of God’s great desire to come into our lives and of our need to be prepared. We need God’s help and comfort, but we are not always prepared to change our ways to enhance genuine conversion. For God to come to us, we need to let him find us. I remember this story of a little child. St. Peter reminds us, on the one hand, of God’s great desire to come into our lives and, on the other hand, of our need to be prepared for that event when it happens. We want God’s help and comfort, but we are not always prepared to change our ways to enhance genuine conversion. For God to come to us, we also need to go to Him. We need to let every day become Christmas and the “Day of the Lord” for each one of us. Following the words of John, the Baptist let us prepare our hearts. Let us repent and make our hearts ready for Christ our Savior to be born into our hearts. For it is very easy for us to miss him in the business of our life. We need to accept Jesus instead of ignoring him during this Christmas season. It was their stubborn pride and self-centeredness, which blinded the eyes of the Jews and kept them from recognizing Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. The same stubborn pride, that wounds human dignity, as a son and daughter of God, blinds the intellects of many of us today who not only fail to accept Christ and his good tidings, but also prevent others from accepting his Word. The mad rush for earthly possessions and pleasures, the casting-off of all the reasonable restraints and restrictions which are so necessary for the survival of human society, the rejection of all things spiritual in man’s make-up, the general incitement of the animal instincts in man – all these are signs of the rejection of Christ. Let us accept Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord during this Christmas season and remain, or become, true Christians in our daily conduct. Let us use these days of preparation for Christmas to ready ourselves for Christ’s Birthday, His daily coming and Second Coming. The best way to prepare our hearts is by inviting Mary our Blessed Mother into our heart. Let us pray:, Come, O Virgin Mary, to my soul, to my house, to my work, as you went to Bethlehem; my soul, my house my work, is an ignoble manger. That notwithstanding, the Lord will want to have his advent and his birth in my soul. Come, O Blessed Virgin Mary. Your presence will transform my soul into a paradise, where the angels will fly and others worshippers will follow your star! More than anything else, the Lord Jesus wants us to be like his mother in loving him. Come, O Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen
God Bless You,