Spiritual Homecoming

Last week we heard Jesus say, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” Today we are counseled, “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (second reading). Jesus’ return could come at any time and our perception of time is far different from his. “Any day” could be tomorrow or it could be another thousand years. Or a million years. We are cautioned against applying human perspective to divine plans. Prophet Isaiah gave a clarion call, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” John the Baptist’s call echoes the call of Isaiah to make straight the paths of the Lord. In what way, we could straighten the paths of the Lord?

Christmas is the time for reflection and personal renewal in preparation for the coming of Jesus into our lives.  Through the section of his letter which we read today, St. Peter reminds us, on the one hand, of God's great desire to come into our lives and, on the other, of our need to be prepared for that event when it happens. We want God's help and comfort, but we are not always prepared to change our ways to enhance genuine conversion. For God to come to us, we also need to go to him. When we make this season of Advent as a season of reflection and preparation, then every day becomes Christmas – he is born in our hearts.

We need to accept Jesus instead of ignoring him during this Christmas season. It was their stubborn pride and self-centeredness, which blinded the eyes of the Jews and kept them from recognizing Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. The same stubborn pride, the same exaggerated sense of our own dignity, blinds the intellects of many of us today who not only fail to accept Christ and his good tidings, but also prevent others from accepting him. All the signs that are contrary to Christ values have to be rejected and become true Christians in our daily conduct.

We need to become preachers of the Good News:  John’s preaching reminds us also of our important task of announcing Christ to others through our lives at home and in the community. Let us take effort in straightening the paths of our children by advising them to detach from their secular living, to get married at an appropriate time, and learn the religion. Our personal lives become an inspiration for them to walk in our footsteps. Thus, our lives become a kind of Bible which others can read. John the Baptist invites us to turn this Advent season into a real spiritual homecoming by making the necessary preparations for the arrival of the Savior and his entrance into our lives.

In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church