Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Make Straight the Pathways of the Lord"

Today is called Guadete (which means Rejoice) Sunday. It is the Third Sunday in Advent, a penitential season - a time of reflection and introspection, as we examine ourselves to discover how faithful we have been in living God’s two greatest commandments and preaching the Good News to the poor. 

It is the time when we ask ourselves:
  • “How have we served instead of being served? 
  • “How have we cared for the least of God’s children, our brothers and sisters?” 
  • “How well have we lived those two greatest commandments: To love God above all and love one another as we love ourselves.”
In other words: How have we Glorified God by our lives?

God so loved us that he sent his only Son into the world – to live among us - in flesh – as one of us - in all but sin, so we could see his Glory and come to believe.

As we prepare ourselves during the Advent; making our selves worthy to greet the infant Jesus, the Son of God, we feel excitement at His coming.  We begin to Rejoice, anticipating the wonder of this great event - that changed us forever. 

A great Light is coming into the world.  Light that banishes darkness – forever.  He is the greatest gift we could ever receive – Peace - Hope – Love - Salvation - Life Eternal – The Glory of God - in His Kingdom of Peace and Love!

No one speaks plainer than John the Baptist.  His message is clear: “One is coming that is mightier than I . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” 
John is the voice crying out in the wilderness – a world of sin, chaos, oppression and corruption.  He proclaims, “Make straight the pathways of the Lord.”

There is no doubt, - no ambiguity in his message.  When he is asked, “What should we do . . . to gain heaven?”
“Make straight the pathways of the Lord.”

In other words: Change your ways!  Do not let the distractions and allures of this world lead you astray from the path toward salvation.
“Make straight the pathways of the Lord.”
He tells them to change their old ways - put on new ways:
  • Give generously to those in need,
  • Share what you have
  • Feed the hungry
  • Cloth the naked
  • Care for the least of God’s children
  • Be honest - Do not cheat others
  • Be fair and just
  • Do not extort or blackmail
  • Do not use force of power or position to oppress others
The path toward righteousness is through love - love of God and love of all His people.

John’s words echo Jesus in the Beatitudes and throughout all his teachings.  He truly is the Herald of the Lord: Announcing to all that the Lord is near, showing the path toward righteousness: The way of love, the way to attain the Kingdom of God and everlasting life.

This Advent season, we need to ask ourselves, “What should we do . . . to gain heaven and everlasting life.”
  • How have I loved the Lord and cared for Him in my service to others? 
  • How have I loved my brothers and sisters as I wish to be loved?
  • How do I preach the Good News with my life, so that others will find in me the Glory of God?
  • How do I live, so that I too may attain the promises of salvation and life everlasting through our Lord, Jesus Christ?
What should I do to “make straight the pathways of the Lord” as I prepare to celebrate this life-changing birth of Jesus, the Christ?

Deacon Don Ron

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