Monday, December 10, 2012

Synopsis of Holy Father's Catechesis for Nov. 28

     Boo!  Are you frightened? Surprised? No?  Well, that’s ok.  It wasn’t really intended to scare you, just like the readings of the past four weeks aren’t really intended to scare anyone.  These readings were intended to reveal or uncover the truth about those “Last Things” that we must all face – death, judgment, heaven and hell.  And what is the Truth that has been uncovered?  Jesus Christ is King and Lord of the Universe!  And now we wait because He WILL come.  When will He come?  Probably not December 23rd (remember last year’s excitement over the Mayan calendar?).  But HE WILL COME and is in fact coming!  And that is what we are about for the next few weeks.
     In the early Church there was a very real expectation that Christ would come in glory very, very soon.  And, it was supposed, that when He came it would be at about this time of the year – a time of darkness on the earth in which the heavens portend chaos and tribulation.  Then, as it became apparent that there would be no Second Coming that year, the people of times past turned in that last week to preparing for the celebration of Christ’s first coming.
     For us, this is no less important a time of preparation.  It is a real gift to us that each year we have this opportunity, having heard and pondered the readings of the last four weeks, to better prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ in Glory.  The fact is, none of us will probably see Christ coming on the clouds literally.  However, we WILL all see Christ coming for us at the end of our lives here on earth.  The question remains, “when He comes will He come as a welcome and anticipated guest or as a thief in the night?”  The question is an important one and will only be answered by our own actions and preparation.
     The wisdom of God is so wondrous!  He sends his only begotten Son into the world as an infant and thus gives us the perfect template for how we are to prepare for his coming again.  I don’t mean that we should be looking for Him to come as a baby.  That has already happened!  But our preparation should be as a family awaiting the coming of a baby – ready to welcome that child into our home, a wonderful example that we see played out in our community all the time.  That means preparing a place for the child in our home.  A room must be set aside and prepared.  Our home must be made “baby proof” – that is, anything that would be dangerous or even unhelpful in the welcoming of baby must be set aside.
     We would consider the family that just goes about their usual activities as if no baby is on the way to be, at best, rather foolish and, at worst, terribly irresponsible.  We could imagine the shock and surprise of that family when a woman all of a sudden finds herself unable to shake this feeling that something is wrong and then out comes baby, throwing the entire family into chaos, confusion, and even distress.  We might even be rather sad for them that they were caught unawares and have been thrown into such distress.  However, it need not be so with us!
     We have been given ample warning, we who have taken care to see the signs just as a woman who first notices her monthly time has not come and begins to more clearly understand the other signals her body has been sending.  Now it is only for us, as for her, to do something about it.
     I encourage all to give yourselves the “gift” of truly and faithfully observing this season of Advent.  I know that it is so easy to get caught up in the cultural observance of this time of year.  However, let us rise above the chaos and following let-down experienced by so many at this time of year by using this time, as God intended it, to be truly prepared to welcome Christ as an anticipated and honored guest (whose intention is to stay for a very long while – just like that baby!).  In this Year of Faith, we are reminded in a particular way that there is a real and wonderful reason for this season.  Let it not pass unattended.  Let us not be found unaware and unprepared at the coming of the Lord – for He does come!
Remember who you are!

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