02 December 2019

1st Sunday of Advent 2019

Happy first day of Advent, Reader! You know… I could sit and write about each and every one of the readings for today. I could probably write volumes about each verse. But, for the sake of time and not boring you to tears, I won’t do...

The reading that stuck out to me the most was Romans 13: Brothers and sisters:

You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.’

Now… Romans, honestly, I affectionately call that Letter my ‘vacation home.’ I’m serious. That’s one of my favourite books in the entire Bible. I’ve read it over and over again and still come across new things each time. This reading? Definitely seeing some new stuff in here.

A recent conversation with a very close friend and mentor of mine comes to mind about what Advent is. About why Jesus came to us the way He did. My friend has been trying – hard – for a few years now to get me to warm up to liking Christmas again (shhh! Don’t tell him, but … it’s working!). I have a hard time with it for a myriad of reasons. But this line right here, ‘IT IS THE HOUR NOW FOR YOU TO WAKE FROM SLEEP. LET US THEN THROW OFF THE WORKS OF DARKNESS AND PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT...It sticks out because for the last 23 years, I’ve seen Christmas as a very dark, dreary thing. It depresses me, if we’re being blunt and honest here. I’m not geographically close enough to get to my brother to celebrate with him (he and our mother live in the Pacific Northwest, I’m in the Midwest), but bigger than that, my two oldest children are in Heaven. My youngest? She lives in Pittsburgh. I have at least a means of communication with her, though, thankfully, so that takes a bit of the edge of my sorrow off.

This year, I was formally Adopted into the Family of God. I finally have what I’ve always wanted: a loving Family and a stable Home to call mine. One of those Family Members, my Beloved Jesus, came down from Heaven to look for me. For all of us. To draw us in where we could be with Him, where we belong.

wake from sleep… throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light...’ That line is really something, isn’t it?! The imagery...

Listen to Him. He is sounding the alarm. Don’t hit ‘snooze’ and roll over, mumbling, ‘yeah, yeah, okay. Mhm. Whatever.’ It’s time to wake up, ‘throwing off the works of darkness’ into the Light of His Face. He came to us as a Precious Baby.

He came to us because as any good shepherd tending his flock and will leave the herd to find the one gone astray, He left the 99 to come find the one: us. As St Alphonsus de Liguori says in The Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy of Jesus Christ, ‘”...We have not yet been able to gain his love, because he is not yet aware of the love We bear him. If We would oblige him without fail to love Us, what better occasion can We find than that, in order to redeem him, I, Thy Son, should go upon earth, should there assume human flesh, and pay by My Death the penalty due by him. In this manner Thy Justice is fully satisfied, and at the same time man is thoroughly convinced of Our love!”’

Our Beloved Lord held nothing back of Himself to get our attention. To make us fully realize how much we truly are loved by Him. St Augustine further pushes this point into our hearts, ‘It was not enough for the Divine Love to have made us to His own image in creating the first man Adam; but He must also Himself be made to our image in redeeming us. Adam partook of the forbidden fruit, beguiled by the serpent, which suggested to Eve that if she ate of that fruit she should become like to God, acquiring the knowledge of good and evil; and therefore the Lord then said, “Behold, Adam is become one of us.” God said this ironically, and to upbraid Adam for his rash presumption; but after the Incarnation of the Word we can truly say, “Behold, God is become like one of us.”’

He became like one of us to help us shed the darkness that threatened to swallow us whole. He is here, fishing us out and ready to draw us into His Light. This is what it is to be truly loved by the Father, that He was willing to become poor to give us the richness of his Love.

What works of darkness have we been wrapping ourselves tightly in that we need to throw off?

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