I have too much to do!
Please forgive me for my absence. Since my last post a variety of activities have required more time than I expected, leaving no time for this blog. These activities include:
- volunteering as an assistant chaplain at my local hospital;
- developing further the radio show I co-host with my Brother in Christ, Dan Duddy, something that has required more work as we build upon it to our eventual podcast;
- resuming year 5 of my parish’s men’s faith formation program–That Man Is You!–which I help lead
- preparing for my parish’s 3rd annual “Legacy of Virtue” Breakfast & Commissioning Ceremony, an event in which grandfathers, fathers, uncles, etc, hand down the principles and models of virtuous manhood to the boys and young men in their lives.
I will lobby for a 26 hour day…
Most importantly, ADVENT has begun! God is coming…and He helps prepare us by using His prophet Isaiah to announce the impending Good News:
But the preamble of that Good News will be echoed initially by the last–and greatest–prophet, John the Baptist, and ultimately by the One whose sandals John knows he’s not fit to even carry let alone wear: Jesus the Christ. And that Introduction is…REPENT!
That’s right; all three begin their work by urging us to first turn away from the sinful path we have walked for too long, because only by doing that can we encounter Jesus as His two disciples did on the road to Emmaus, and experience the truth of His Word and the freedom that message offered. Yes, this is the same Jesus that our modern culture–including many in the Church–has redefined to be only love but never justice. Or, the culture sees His love only in the context of social justice, but never in the justice of personal morality and the responsibility each of us has to live personally moral lives as taught by Jesus. After all, His Father gave us the Ten Commandments; and Jesus talked MUCH more often about Hell than of Heaven. Our God knows us.
Back to our Old Testament prophet. I’ve long loved how the Old and New Testaments support, reinforce and illuminate each other, helping us to see the Truth in our Sacred Scriptures.
Prophecy #1: “The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Prophecy #2: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful” (Isaiah 9:5-6a AND, George Fridric Handel’s “Messiah”).
Prophecy #3: “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him. He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. Justice shall be the band around his waist” (Isaiah 11:1,2a,4a,5a).
Our cultural conveyor belt rapidly moves us through December but past Advent, working hard to keep our eyes focused only upon December 25th and the great bargains for gifts. But just as the season of Lent offers us the opportunity to solemnly prepare for the eventual great joy of Jesus’ resurrection into the world, the Prayers, Fasting, Almsgiving and Penance (PFAP!!) of Advent make us holy so we can welcome the Incarnation of God into humanity.
So we must slow down and make a plan, one that helps us “make straight our crooked ways” to give Jesus easy access into our lives. For it is from this encounter that a relationship can form.
Therefore, let each of us repent during this holy season, so we can ultimately REJOICE!
So let us make a Holy Advent so we can have a Merry Christmas.
See you soon…