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12/6/15 Second Sunday in Advent - Deacon Tony

Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 6    12/6/15

  • Advent is a good time to take a deeper look at our faith…
  • From the Prophet Baruch: “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
    put on the splendor of glory from God forever
  • These words could just as easily be addressed to each of us as well…
  • Are we fully living and celebrating our lives… Or are we merely in survival mode?
  • Is our faith enhancing and enriching our life… or are we merely fulfilling our perceived obligations?
  • These are questions worth asking… because Jesus didn’t die for us just so we could simply exist
  • This Advent, we anticipate commemorating the gift of Jesus Christ to the world - But what does that mean?
  • Why do we celebrate His birth?
  • Did He come and die for us just to teach us to follow the rules, and to get in line, or be punished?
  • How can we call the Gospel “Good News” with a scenario like that?…
  • Jesus came so that we could alltake off our robe of mourning and put on the splendor of glory from God forever…”
  • But this can never take place as long as we work to keep God from touching our hearts
  • If we’re not allowing ourselves to be transformed by our faith practices, to allow our faith to grow within us, to allow our faith to change how we live our livesthen what’s the point?
  • God doesn’t desire our rituals or our ritesHe desires our imitation and our love...
  • Compassion is the bedrock of our Christian Faith – Without it, we’re left with a skeleton of laws with no flesh, and no humanity...
  • One of the biggest sins is going through the motions of our faith without allowing it to transform us... Without allowing God’s love to change us, and to penetrate our souls... Without allowing it to change our lives
  • From today’s Gospel: “John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…”
  • In its most basic form - The word Repentance can be used to describe the process of ‘turning around,’ or ‘changing direction,’ often as a result of sorrow for something that we did or did not do...
  • In his book: Four Steps to Spiritual Freedom, Father Thomas Ryan wrote: “The Gospel of Christ is given to tell us what we have forgotten, and that is: who we are.  In the spiritual life it is not a question of being told what to do, but of being reminded of who we are.  Only when we know who we are will we see more clearly what we should doThe Grace of repentance is not about turning around in order to become someone other than ourselves; rather, it is about turning around in order to be restored to what is deepest and best in us.”  (Pg 40).
  • Repentance is too often associated with shame and guiltand this is unfortunate
  • We must remember that God will never shame us… Shame is the tool of the devil, used to demoralize and humiliate us into inaction
  • Repentance involves an honest examination and assessment of our lives from top to bottom, along with the courage to make the changes necessary to re-direct our lives toward the path that God lays out before us...
  • This doesn’t mean that we’re to beat ourselves up over our shortcomings and our failures, but it does mean that we need to face them head-on, and bring them to Jesus for needed healing and forgiveness...
  • And this healing and forgiveness can most often be found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • I’ll close with a quote from Sister Joan Chittister who wrote: “There is a child in each of us waiting to be born again.  It is to those looking for life that the figure of the Christ, a child; beckons... It is for those who refuse to give up and grow old; for those to whom life comes newly and with purpose each and every day; for those who can let yesterday go so that life can be full of new possibilities always; for those who are agitated with newness whatever their ageLife is for the living; for those in whom Christmas is a feast without finish; a celebration of the constancy of change; a call to begin once more the journey to human joy and holy meaning... Surely every day is meant to be ChristmasSurely every day Christ is trying to be born in us again. (In Search of Belief; Pg 91.)


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