Saturday, September 16, 2006

Prepare the way of the Lord

“A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the Lord!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”
(Isaiah 40: 3)

In the second Sunday of Advent, the Church prays:
“God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory…”

What are the things that hinder me today from receiving Christ with joy? At one time in my life, I was hindered by the following from receiving Christ with joy:

Although I still struggle with some of the above points from time to time, understanding and accepting Christ’s point of view on them helped me to surrender them to him. My situation today can be described as knowing the mind of Christ a little more everyday. I am more fully aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit and his activities in my life than before. I fear complacency.

By identifying what hinders me from receiving Christ with joy and having them removed by the Father can I “share Christ’s wisdom and become one with him.” Father, remove the insecurity in me that makes me cling to things. Remove from me all forms of conceit O Father.

When we are wise in Christ, we see how God provides for us in every situation. We see the Father’s loving providence where the world sees lack and want. When the Father removes the elements in our lives that darken us to Christ’s wisdom, we enter into the mind of Christ with regard to creatures. One thing that could darken the mind to Christ’s wisdom is greed. When we are greedy, we seek more than we need. We acquire and accumulate. We become insatiable. We feel insecure.

The theme of the second Sunday in Advent seems to be: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” We prepare by asking for the grace to remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Recognizing Jesus

Recognizing Jesus

“He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.” (Mark 1: 34)

How was Christ recognized in the Gospel by people and by evil spirits?

We recognize people by clues. Which clues helped John the Baptist to recognize Jesus? The clues about Jesus were revealed in the Old Testament. Any Jew who knew the Hebrew scriptures and had longed for the coming of the Messiah would have recognized Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus quoted from Prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4: 18 – 19)

Jesus did everything the scriptures said he would do. He healed, he taught and he fed the people. How do we recognize Jesus today. Those who behave like Jesus remind us of him.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time, Time

Time, Time

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)

Advent and Lent are both periods of waiting. In Advent, we wait for the birth of Christ and in Lent we wait for the passion, death and most resurrection of the Lord. Christian people are a waiting people. We spend time waiting. The concept of time is very important in salvation history.

There are two kinds of time in the economy of salvation: chronos and kairos.

Chronos deals with the human measurement of time: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. Chronos time involves an element of predictability. We measure and calculate this time with accuracy.

The economy of salvation introduces a new understanding of time. Kairos time. This is God’s concept of time, where to wait is to stop. The bible describes this time as: the hour, the appointed time, the right time, the fixed time, the preordained time.

“Stay awake, you do not know when the time will come.” This is God’s time.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

“It is not with your sacrifices that I find fault; these burnt offerings are constantly before me; I will not accept any bull from your homes, nor a single goat from your folds.” (Psalm 50: 8)

O Lord, what then do you want?

“Sacrifices give you no pleasure, burnt offering you do not desire.” (Psalm 51: 16)

“A little thing indeed is a sweetly smelling sacrifice, still less the fat burned for you in burnt offering; but whoever fears the Lord is great forever.” (Judith 16:16)

“What I want is love, not sacrifices; a knowledge of God, not holocausts.” (Hosea 6:6)

“Let thanksgiving be your sacrifice to God, fulfill the vows you make to the most high.” (Psalm 50:14)

“Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, a broken, contrite heart you will never scorn.” (Ps 51: 17)

To summarize, God wants:






Knowledge of God