After celebrating the THANKGIVING DAY AND BLACK FRIDAY with festive spirit, our Gospel for the first day of Advent gives a stern warning: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mk. 13:33). The word “ADVENT” springs from the Latin word ‘ADVENTUS’ which means to ‘to wait’. We wait for the coming of the Lord in our lives. He first came to us when He was born into this world to save us. But we also wait for his second coming when He will judge all of us to enter His kingdom. “Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.” (Preface, Advent I). Thus, the call to “stay awake” should dispose us to seriously prepare for the time when we will all die and experience general judgment for everlasting life.
So, are you ready to die? We may not necessarily experience the Second Coming of Christ. Yet, surely, our time of death will come. This will be our moment of particular judgment. Most of us fear this moment because we do not know its precise minute, hour or day. Jesus describes it like a master who left his servants accountable for their respective tasks and come home unexpectedly to check if they have done their work responsibly (Mk. 13:34-37). Death will always be an unexpected day of reckoning. When that day comes, Jesus will judge whether we have lived our lives as responsible Christians or not.
St. Teresa of Avila shares a very powerful image of dying and death. She describes what happens to a fat and ugly silkworm that dies in a cocoon which cracks open to give birth to a beautiful white butterfly (‘Interior Castle’ V, chap 2, nos.1,2) This description applies to what takes place when one undergoes spiritual dying and death. When one dies to sin, one dies to his ugly, sinful self so that he gives birth to a beautiful transformed self where Christ lives in him. As St. Paul teaches: “We know that old self was crucified with Him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin...
If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.....you too must think of yourself as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”(Romans 6:6-11) A friend of mine once shared that he never seriously thought of death until the time he found himself attending funerals of people he knew personally. He then realized that life was short, that he had to refocus his priorities. He told me that he should no longer fix his gaze on worldly cares, but on spiritual things that would bring him to heaven. I was amazed when he said: “Now, I am ready to die, I am ready to die to my sins of selfishness, greed, bitterness...to my unforgiveness. ”How about you? Are you ready to die to sin so that Christ may live in you? God bless you!
#20 A JOKE FROM ST. JOE: A murderer is about to be executed in the electric chair. “Have you any last requests?” asked the chaplain. “Yes, Father,” replies the murderer. “Will you hold my hand?”
December 3, begins Year B of the Sunday Lectionary for Mass. On the 7th, we celebrate the feast of St. Ambrose and Pearl Harbor Remembrance day. The 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM and it is a Holy Day of Obligation. One Mass will be held on Eve of December 7 at 6PM and our Regular Mass at 8AM on December 8th. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin.
Your Priest-Servant and Administrator,