December 7, 2014
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The story is told of a theologian who had a unique painting of the Crucifixion in his study that included the image of John the Baptist pointing with a long finger to Jesus on the Cross. One day a visitor asked, “What is your job?” The theologian walked over to the painting and said, “I am that finger.” Question: Does my life point people to Christ or does it turn people away from Him? Before answering, remember what Gandhi said, “I would have become a Christian if ever I had met one.” We need to be saints!
What God has done for us in Christ has not been done for humanity in the abstract; no, this is personal. Each one of us must hear God’s invitation and call to us. “Here is your God,” Isaiah proclaims in our first reading. Yes, He is truly here, but will I prayerfully be attentive to His presence? We may ask why the Lord is waiting to come in glory, or why He is delaying the end. Peter gives us the answer in our second reading, and again it’s personal: “He is patient with YOU, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” In the same vain, our Gospel tells us that the people of the Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to John the Baptist to acknowledge their sins. Huge crowds, young and old, healthy and sick, rich and poor, trekked 25 miles through the desert to the Baptist to start anew and hear God’s Word. It was a God event, and they seized the opportunity! Do we?
We have a much greater One than John the Baptist here. Christ offers Himself to us in the Eucharist; do I really notice? Christ longs to forgive and set us free in the sacrament of Reconciliation; will I come to Him? In the midst of the noise and busyness of our lives, we hardly notice how far we’ve drifted… His presence, peace and love more a memory than our lived experience. Our relationship with Him becomes rote, an afterthought, a going through the motions, rather than being our EVERYTHING! Saints are espoused to the living God! Am I? “Christ has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us,” the apostle Paul says. “This makes us ambassadors for Christ, God, as it were, appealing through us. We implore you, in Christ’s name: be reconciled to God!”
Let’s face it; our calling is even greater than the Baptist’s. We not only point to Christ, but we, as Christians, give witness to His life in us. Believe me, people notice! Do they see saints? Being one with Him is His abiding gift to us. May God bless us all with a grace-filled and life-changing experience in the sacrament of Reconciliation this Advent. Reconciliation Services for the local churches are published in this bulletin.
Catechism Question of the Week: True or False: The Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix (see CCC 969).
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: John was not the light but testified to the light; how is this different for us?
In Christ’s Peace,