Today, we begin a new liturgical year; we are celebrating the First Sunday of Advent, in the Year of Our Lord, 2021/2022. And we seem to be beginning the new Advent season, like we finished Ordinary Time a couple of week ago, with a reflection on the Second Coming of Christ. Once again we hear that the end times will come with powerful signs and wonders that will scare the living daylights out of people experiencing it!
Jesus speaks to the people of His time, and to us in this present time, and those who may come after us: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” We are told to be vigilant, not lazy. Now is the time for us to begin examining how well..or not; we are striving to live the Gospel life! How open are our ears and hearts to the prompting of the Holy Spirit!
We were committed at our Baptisms; we pledged at our Confirmations, to live the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We committed ourselves to loving our Lord God with all our heart and soul. And to love our neighbors, known and unknown; rich and poor; good or bad, as we love ourselves! This call for compassion, love and mercy. It calls on us to seek daily renewal of our heart and soul. This calls for constant reflecting on Scripture; constant prayer, both privately and in community. And joining together at the Lord’s Table, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, so that we can be strengthened, renewed and ready for when He comes!
Jeremiah 33: 14-16
Thessalonians 3: 12-4: 2
Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36
This was composed in thirty minutes; it an approach I tried once before, and I am giving it another go! 🤞
May God bless all the company of the souls here, may God and Mary bless you. You too spent awhile here just as we are now and we too will join you soon. May we all be adorned in the beauty of the bright King of heaven.
From the Glenstal Book of Prayer November 2021 Issue; Give Us This Day
“Omnipotent, most holy, most high and supreme God; all good, supreme good, total good, you who alone are good; we give you all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor, and blessing and every good. So be it. So be it. Amen.”
“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the SON, but only the Father.”
When I lived in the North Shore, I had to drive through the industrial area of the city of Lynn to get to the T station for the Blue Line subway into Boston. I drove down this road known as the Lynnway,and one morning I noticed this huge commercial sign. One it was a picture of a man, identified as an evangelical preacher, who had calculated, using Scripture, the exact day and time of the Second Coming of Jesus. And it was coming in a few months! He encouraged his followers and anyone who wished to be saved, to get ready. Some interpreted that to mean getting rid of their physical possessions, emptying out their bank accounts; some selling their homes. Of course, the day came and went, and nothing had happened. The preacher sent out a press release, stating that he had “miscalculated.” Sorry!
Scientists have made predictions about the end of our Earth, our Solar System, our Universe; the end of space and time itself, are billions, trillion of years in the future. Or it could be “snap”! Science fiction authors, movie producers and directors have speculated a future where the Earth dies violently from plague, a monster asteroid, a Sun going supernova, a nuclear war or accident!
But when we we are talking about the end times; we are talking about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior! This is not something that should be feared! This is something that we should be waiting for with joyous expectation! Jesus will be coming to bring us home to the Father! It is that promise that gives us hope, with all the pains, the sorrows, we may be struggling through. It gives us hope!
So let us live as a people of hope; not just for ourselves, but for every person who might also be in pain, we share with them the reason for our hope, by our words and actions!
We should strive to live a life of expectation; not just for the Second Coming of The Son of God; but in encountering Jesus here and now. Every time we read and reflect on His Gospel. Every time we open our heart and soul to Jesus, in prayer; and especially, when we approach the altar and receive His Body and Blood; we encounter the One who loves us, cares for us, heals our wounds, gives us joy, peace, and and hope!
So as we live daily, looking hopefully to the future; we echo the words from the Book of Revelation: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”
“Prayer with fasting is good. Almsgiving with righteousness is better than wealth with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to store up gold, for almsgiving saves from death, and purges all sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, but those who commit sin and do evil are their own worst enemies.” Tobit 12: 8-12
“Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
In today’s Gospel, we learn about the rich young man, who came to meet Jesus. Now, picture this, Jesus is ready to depart on a journey; he has his Apostles and other disciples with him. He begins to leave, when up comes this young man, who, by his dress, is obviously a wealthy man. And he comes to ask a question “What must I do to earn eternal life?” Jesus is ready to go, so you can hear the impatience in his voice; he gives the standard reply any rabbi would give; he quotes from the the commandments. The young man replies with fervor that he has keep the commandments since he was young. Jesus stop short, he hears the intensity in the reply, he senses the possibilities in this young man. And he gives a reply from his heart, a personal teaching to this young man. And the young man cannot accept it! He walks away!
At that moment, I can imagine the disappointment that Jesus must have felt. You can hear it in his voice when he he tells his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the people are flabbergasted by this statement. Now keep in mind, the societal structure in Jesus’ time was much different from our own today! We have a class society made up of the wealthy, middle class, low income, poor, and destitute. In Jesus time, there was, as one scripture scholar put it, the haves and the have nots! The haves were nobles, rich landowners, merchants who catered to the rich, political leaders, and leaders of the Temple in Jerusalem. The have nots, were farmers, herdsmen, laborers, craftsmen, fishermen; who, because of Roman taxes, could barely scratch up enough money to survive! To people like these, they dreamed of being wealthy, to have wealth meant they had made it. And to have Jesus tell them that the wealthy could not enter the kingdom of God, must have blown their minds! You can hear the disbelief in their voices! If the rich cannot make it, how can we? Jesus tells them, tells us that to follow, to live the Gospel, will come with trials and persecutions; but with it also a fellowship of believers, to support each other along the way; and to eternal life at the end of the journey!
Now we are a society that is fascinated with the lives of the rich and famous, I mean, who has not watched at lest one episode of the Housewives series, or have not read at lest one society magazine, like “People,” or the tabloids. We envy the rich,we wish we could have a tenth, a fraction of their wealth. Yet, Jesus cautions us, in very strong terms, that success and wealth does not guarantee entrance into the kingdom. Remember the prime commandants, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart! And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus is inviting us to cross the threshold into a new way of looking at the world, a new way of living in this world. One in which we share what we have with the poor and needy. That we look on each person that we come in contact with as a brother or a sister; a fellow traveler in this journey of life and faith, supporting and comforting each other during the hard times. And accepting each other. Standing together against a world where only money and status count, and might, whether through wealth or force of arms, makes right. If we can stand against that, then the blessings Jesus has promised will indeed be ours; and we will enter into eternal life in the age to come!
“Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they come among us. Thus, Michael means ‘Who is like God?’; Gabriel is ‘The Strength of God’; and Raphael is ‘God’s Remedy.’”
Saint Gregory the Great, Homily 34 on the Gospels.