Preparing For The Coming Of The LORD, 4TH DECEMBER, 2016
John the Baptist, back then, was a figure of the role of the church today. With all of the many dimensions of our preparations for Christmas, we, as Christians, must give priority to the preparation of our hearts, of our inner beings. (Jesus didn’t come to be locked in a tabernacle. He came to make his home in the human heart.) As with last Sunday, there is a sense of urgency about the call to prepare the way. Not everything in our lives is important, just because it appears urgent. I can be so busy with the urgent that I overlook the important. The call of today’s gospel is both urgent and important. Preparation for an event and the actual event are not exactly the same thing. John predicts an extraordinary outpouring of blessing from “the one who is coming after me.” Our preparation for Christmas is but the beginning of blessings and of gifts that will continue for eternity. Life is difficult, and it is very fragile. One heart attack and it’s all over. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans. Here’s another Christmas, where it can be “here we go again,” or it can be something beautiful, special, and life giving. It is an opportunity to be recycled. It is like going through another cycle in the washing machine of the Lord, and, for some people, it could be their “final rinse”. Don’t just drift into Christmas, and don’t allow it become a time of year which most people wish was over and done with. Take some definite time out, not a great deal, to reflect on what Christmas is all about, and what, if anything, it means to you. Prepare a pathway for the Lord’s coming. Make a straight road for him. Can you honestly recognize things in your life, in your behaviour, in your relationships that can be obstacles to this time of love, of reconciliation, of freedom from bondage? What do you find within yourself that spoils or limits the gift that you are, now that we are approaching that time of year when gift giving becomes part of our living?
Why wait until you die to face the judgment of God? Today, this very day, you can come to the Lord with the wheat and the chaff, with all that you are, and allow him separate the chaff, and dispose of it in the furnace of his love. Because of the extraordinary nature of the love expressed by God in the whole story of Christmas, it would be a special and grace-inspired response if we tried to meet that love with an open and honest heart. If he is a Saviour coming in search of sinners, then “Here I am, Lord.” God could have chosen to love us from a distance. However, he decided to join us on our human journey. There are stations and bus stops on that journey, and Jesus can come aboard in our lives at any point of the journey, but only if we stop and ask him. On the other hand, we can be on a journey, through compulsion, addiction, or self-will run riot, and it is bound to end in destruction. Like a rapid-rail, or an Underground, we can decide to get off at any one of the stations. Jesus will be waiting for us on the platform. John calls the whole of Israel without exception to a change of heart. He calls the attention of Israel to its infidelity. The call is addresses to us. We hear it especially during the time of Advent when as a community we are called to a change of heart. That challenge is addressed to each of us. We are probably all aware of the areas in our lives that need to be changed and to be touched by the power of God’s forgiveness. We all need to be recalled into the fidelity of our own baptism. We don’t have to make a trek into the wilderness to hear the word of the Lord. We hear it here, in this place. Hearing it and acting on it. This is the best preparation for the one who is to come. Jesus is the reason for the Season. Strip back all the tinsel and wrapping, and discover the real gift of Christmas. Your own personal, and mostly private, input into this Christmas, is what will make all the difference in the world. No matter what gifts or cards you receive from others, the greatest gift of all is one you can choose to give yourself.
STAY BLESSED!!!BY: FR. RAPHAEL HESSAH Title: Preparing For The Coming Of The LORD