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12/11/16 Third Sunday of Advent - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 7

 

  • We know as Christians that Advent is meant to be a time for reflection… Not a time for a frenzied sprint to Christmas…
  • But the question we might ask ourselves is what are we called to reflect upon?
  • As Christians… We’re called to reflect not only on the birth of Christ and His entry into our world… but more importantly… We’re called to reflect upon what He came to teach us and how we’re putting those teachings into practice in our own lives…
  • Jesus came to teach us first and foremost how to love… Because that’s how we imitate God…
  • If we’re offended because someone wishes us Happy Holidays… instead of saying Merry Christmas – We’re missing the point
  • The best way to keep Christ in Christmas is not to wear our Christianity on our sleeve, but rather to live it
  • Jesus came not only to teach us how to love, but also to show us the true face of the Father… A Father Who loves all of His children, of every race creed and color
  • We’re reminded, especially at this time of year, that God has no favorites
  • We celebrate the birth of Christ because of what He brought to all of humanity… To Believers, non-believers, and those who just aren’t’ sure yet
  • Jesus’ entire life was an uninterrupted example of unconditional love and acceptance
  • He conversed and ate with sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes… Because He saw the good that was buried deep inside each of them
  • Jesus gave up on no one… and neither should we
  • This doesn’t herald an “anything goes faith”… It simply means that although we’re able to judge a person’s actions, none of us are qualified to judge their intentions
  • The good news of the love of God isn’t meant for Christians alone… but for all men and women
  • And that, perhaps more than anything else, is the message of Christmas that we’re each called to spread… Not merely with words… but more importantly through our actions
  • Jesus tells John’s disciples in today’s Gospel: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, 
    the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
  • Miracles can and do still happen… and the catalyst is always love
  • We were all put on this earth for a reason…To fulfill God’s plans for each of our lives…
  • To be His instruments… His Hands, His Feet, His Voice
  • God has never stopped working in the world… Because God has never stopped working in each of our lives
  • There was a story recently on the news of a young man walking through an industrial park late at night… who was spotted by a policeman patrolling the area…
  • The young man immediately froze, fearing a confrontation…
  • The policeman stopped to ask him what he was doing there and where he was going…
  • He told the policeman that he was walking home from work...
  • The policeman could have just driven away… But instead, he offered him a ride home…
  • It was seven miles to that young man’s home from his workplace, and he walked it every day to and from work because he couldn’t afford a car…
  • The policeman was impressed by the young man’s determination and took an interest in him…
  • He bought him a bicycle for his commute, and he stayed in touch with him…
  • He took him on patrol with him…
  • He showed the young man compassion… which is just another word for love
  • This young man now wants to study to become a policeman…
  • That in my mind is a real life miracle… and it all started with someone deciding to put their faith into action…
  • Instead of allowing consumerism to steal our Advent and Christmas… What if we worked a little harder to live our faith more fully
  • What if we made a conscious effort to put our faith into action as that policeman did, by showing someone some unexpected kindness?
  • Advent and Christmas are wake up calls for all of us on what it means to call ourselves Christians…
  • Advent and the Christmas are a celebration of the physical manifestation of unconditional love that entered the world through the person of Christ… and that’s meant to continue to permeate the world through each of us
  • Advent, and the Christmas season are not about us – They’re about God’s love for us
  • A love that isn’t dependent upon what we do, but rather on who we areGod’s Beloved
  • Perhaps the greatest tragedy that can befall us in life, is to blindly accept the false notion that we need to be worthy of God’s love… Nothing could be further from the truth
  • I’ll close with a quote from Marianne Williamson who wrote: “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.  As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (A Return to Love; Pg. 191.)

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