Sunday, December 10, 2017

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (12/10/17)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Marantha! Come, Lord Jesus!

The name Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Yehosua,” which means ‘YHWH is salvation’.  The first Joshua, the successor of Moses, saved the people from their enemies.  The second Joshua (Jesus) will save the people from their sins.  The people did not expect a Messiah who would save them from their sins, but one who would deliver them from their oppressors. 

Jesus’ calling is to save His people from their sins and to manifest God’s presence. Throughout Advent, we are constantly reminded of the promise that Jesus is God-with-us.  We know through the oracles and prophesies of the Old Testament prophets that Jesus will be with us “always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus is the reassurance in the flesh that God has not given up on us but will remain with us. The real event of Christmas is that God comes to change the world and each of us, not just through a historical, virginal conception and a baby lying in a manger, but through the God Who is with us today, shattering our self-righteous attitudes and seeking to move us beyond our fears, freeing us from all that holds us captive and in bondage.

We need to trust in God, to listen to Him, and to be faithful. We come to Church because we are faithful and because we trust in God, His power, His mercy, and His faithfulness. Although we may be dealing with financial problems, job insecurity, family problems, health issues, and a host of other concerns, we must nevertheless not lose hope; we must continue to be trusting and faithful.

Instead of relying on our own schemes to get us through life, let us trust in God and be strengthened by talking to Him in fervent prayer and by listening to Him speaking to us through His Word and through the lives and example of the saints. Let us, like them, remain faithful and prayerful, imitating them, the humblest of the humble, the kindliest of the kindly, and the greatest-ever believers in God’s goodness and mercy, as we welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives this Christmas.

We need to experience Emmanuel in our lives and change the world; God who entered our world through Jesus more than 2,000 years ago is at work in the world. But the question is, if God has come to be present in our lives and our world, then why are there so many people who are unhappy and evil? Why are people so hostile, hating each other? And why are so many marriages ending in divorce? Why is there domestic violence? Why is there child abuse? Why is there war in at least a dozen countries of God’s good earth at any given time? Why are so many people hungry and homeless, even in rich countries? Is there any good left in the world? Is there any Good News that can give us and the world hope for something better?

The Good News is that there is hope. The Good News, the consoling message of Christmas, is that the child Jesus waits to step into our hearts, yours and mine, and to change us and the world around us by the beauty of God’s love, kindness, mercy, and compassion. Let us take some time to let the Christ Child enter our hearts and lives this Christmas, so that He may change our world of miseries with the beauty and power of His incomprehensible love.

This Advent, let us prepare ourselves to be a Christmas gift to others. The greatest gift we can give to those we love is to have faith in them, believe in their dreams, and try to help them realize them. We need to believe in the dreams of our husband, wife, children, parents, friends, heroes, and leaders, then try our best to help them realize them. Do not let anyone crush your dreams. The great things in this world, the great achievements of humanity, came to be because of dreams.

Christmas is about hope, and Advent gives up time to reflect on that reality. Advent gives us time to look within ourselves and see the good that God has done for us and to us. This holy season of expectation, anticipation, and preparation will soon give way to the glorious event of the Incarnation, the birth of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, the true and only hope and salvation of mankind and the world.

Amen.



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