Sunday, November 29, 2020

1st Week of Advent: Stay Watch!

 

What is Advent?
We are now in the holy season of Advent where we prepare for both the coming of Christ at Christmas and the second coming at the end of time.  It is a spiritual period in which to meditate on these two mysteries and prepare for them.  We use the wreath and 4 candles to mark down the 4 weeks before Christmas.  

Three of the candles are purple and one is pink.  The purple symbolizes preparation through penance and prayer.  Purple is also used during Lent.  Another way to see it is purple is a physical sign of healing. When we get hurt, the injury becomes purple.  During the time of healing, it remains purple until it clears up.  Sin hurts us and we need time to heal from it by using the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist, Prayer, Fasting, Indulgences and a genuine Spiritual life.  

The pink is for the third Sunday or Gaudete Sunday which means "Sunday of Joy."   We are joyous because we are getting closer to Christ's birth.  As each week goes, we light the candle that corresponds to that week. We at Sacerdotus now offer masks and shirts with the Advent wreath.  See the end of this post for the link.    

Today's readings:  First Sunday of Advent | USCCB

In the first reading from Isaiah, we read about humanity calling out to God.  We call out, "return for the sake of your servants."  Moreover, we complain, "why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Many atheists today often say that as technology has evolved, miracles have decreased. In other words, they claim that we do not see miracles like those from the Old Testament and New Testament in today's postmodern world because there are ways to document it and study them. With this, they imply that the miracles that Sacred Scripture and Tradition inform us about were nothing more than fantasy; hyperbole meant to capture the mind of Bronze age people. Atheists do not understand that these miracles were meant to authenticate those men whom God chose to speak for Him on Earth. Without these miracles, no one would have paid any mind to Moses etc (2 Kings 1:10Luke 4:36–37Acts 5:12). These miracles were a "head-start" or "push" for faith to take hold in the world.  This does not mean God does not perform miracles today or in recent times. Take the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima or rewind back into the distant past to the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Both of these apparitions served to bring about conversion or reversion. Had the Blessed Virgin Mary not appeared to Blessed Juan Diego, Mexico would not be a Catholic nation today. Moreover, had the apparitions of Fatima not taken place, then Fascism and Communism would have taken over Portugal and Europe as a whole.  Today we seek miracles more than ever during this time of the Covid 19 alleged pandemic. People are suffering and dying. There seems no end at hand.  Despite what is going on in the world today in this 2020 year, we must not harden our hearts. 

The first reading reminds us that God has literally let us "wander" to the point that we "harden our hearts so that we fear [Him] not."  This tells us how God respects our free will.  He will not impose Himself on us.  If we want no part of Him, then He will not force Himself on us. We must call upon God to "return." We must ask Him to "show His face" and rescue us because we are in ruin.  This reading ties into Advent because this season is a season of waiting in darkness, so to speak.  We await the coming of our Lord.  

Our world is in darkness still and will only become truly perfect when Christ returns.  Covid 19 Coronavirus is remind us of this.  All of us need God.  We cry out to God as we wander around asking Him to return to us.  Like the Prodigal son, we have abandoned the father believing we can do it on our own and have failed (Luke 15:11-32). That arrogance of having the illusion that we can take on life by ourselves comes to an end when life "beats us up."  We lose ourselves, believe and do all kinds of crazy things (Romans 1:24-25). When we wander from God, we begin to mock Him.  How many times have atheists mocked God?  All over the internet, we see memes or photos mocking Christ, the Blessed Trinity and what not.  Their hearts are hardened to the point that they do not fear God or have respect for God.  This all changes when they wander too far.  God allows their venting.  It is a process that allows them to realize that without God they are nothing. They turn into arrogant creatures who live off of mockery and diatribe, instead of love and hope.  This, in reality, is a sign of their existential frustration.

This is where the responsorial Psalm comes in which responds to the first reading where we say, "Lord, make us TURN to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved."  The first reading tells the story of humanity wandering off and disrespecting God.  It loses hope, hits "rock bottom," so to speak and then realizes it needs God. So we then cry out to God to get us to return to Him and to show us His face so we can be saved.

St. Paul in the second reading from Corinthians reminds us that we are in God's grace. We know of Christ and have confirmed His works, history, and person via testimony; not only of others but of ourselves as well. He reminds us that we are not "lacking in any spiritual gift."  Despite living in this crazy world, we still have God with us and He continues to pour out His gifts of the Holy Spirit on us in order to weather the storm that is life on Earth as we await Christ at the end.  We are reassured by St. Paul that God is faithful and that we will be in fellowship with His Son Our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why the Sacraments are very important and why the laity and many priests are correct in showing anger against suspension of the Sacraments.  Viruses come and go and we all will eventually die. No medicine, vaccine or television doctors will stop this.  This is why we must focus more on the soul and its preparation via the Sacraments.  We must be in the state of grace. 

Finally, in the Gospel, we are reminded that we must be on alert. The end of time will come when we least expect it. Christ will come like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10Revelation 16:15). We must not sit idle believing that we are "saved" just because we have accepted Christ as our personal Lord an Savior (Matthew 7:21).  This is not what Christianity is about.  In the world today, we are seeing so many signs that hard times are here and are going to get worse. Christianity is under attack.  All kinds of strange ideas are taking hold in the world. The distortion of marriage, gender, the rise in racism and so on.  Unfortunately, the silence of Christians is to blame, in my opinion. We have not done enough to suppress the smoke of Satan which is spreading around the world.  

We must put our faith into work (James 2:14-26). Part of that work is to spread the Gospel around to others and especially within ourselves.  We must not keep the truth to ourselves. This is why we have the Sacraments.  They prepare us with the "robe" for that day when Christ will come (Matthew 22:11-13). Christ can come at any moment.  No one knows the day, hour or minute (Matthew 24:36). Now, this day is often painted as a "gloom and doom" thing.  The end of time should not be a scare tactic.   We should see it for what it really is: God returning.  God is coming back to us and showing us Himself. No more will the atheist say, "show me the evidence."  No more will the doubtful Christian say, "what if there is no God and I am wasting my life on this?"  No more will some philosophers and nihilists say, "God is dead, we have killed Him!"  We will all say, "Lord have mercy!"  This will not be a scary time, but an awesome time.  We will know who God truly is.  We will know who we are, why we are, where we are.  No longer will science, theology, or philosophy be needed because we will see the personification of truth and wisdom.  Until this day happens, we gather now in the season of Advent and cry out "Maranatha" - "Come O Lord!"  



Please help me continue this ministry by donating on my Paypal becoming a monthly patron on www.patreon.com/sacerdotus or www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus. Your donations will help pay for domain names to keep the site up and running, podcast subscriptions and the purchase/mailing of sacramentals and other materials.  Please consider becoming a patron or benefactor by donating on a monthly basis.  God will reward you!

You can also purchase our new products at our Sacerdotus Store: Sacerdotus' Store | Teespring.  For this Advent season, get our Maranatha products. Wear these masks and shirts for Mass or your parish activities to show you are waiting for the Lord's return, visit: Advent Products from Sacerdotus' Store | Teespring





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