Saturday, December 6, 2014

2nd Sunday in Advent - Mark 1: 1-18 - "Make Straight the Pathways of the Lord"

"Make Straight the Pathways of the Lord"
Christmas is a celebration of our Lord, Jesus coming into the world.  The gift from God to His people, given unconditionally in love, so that we may be with Him for all eternity; resting in His kingdom of heaven.  On this day, through a virgin, God’s gift came to us; sharing with us our human condition, so He may help us recognize Him as our loving Father.

Advent is our beginning, and our anticipation, in receiving God’s gift of love and salvation through His Son, Jesus.  It is also our reminder of His Christ, Jesus fulfilling His promise to return, to come again into the world, to bring all the righteous into God’s heavenly kingdom.

“Prepare the way of the Lord!”  “Make straight His pathway!”  Open your hearts to the love of God!  Turn your face toward the Lord and let Him enter your heart!  

These words spoken in early times, still have great meaning for us today: for every Christian.  Rooted in Isaiah, for a people suffering from loss and destruction, written again by Mark to remind his people of God’s promise and heard today, by a people suffering attacks on and denial of religious freedoms, persecution, exile, marginalization and death for their belief in our Lord, Jesus Christ.  

These word, “Prepare the Way of the Lord” remind us to be patient and remain faithful: for the Lord is coming, as He promised.  We know not when, but we must be always vigilant, always ready for His return, as we go about His work – never straying from the path of righteousness, never faltering in faith, never turning away in disappointment or disbelief.

The early Christians expected Jesus to return in their lifetime to bring them into God’s heavenly kingdom.  As time passed and He did not come back, many grew impatient with waiting.  Some were disheartened; turning away in disappointment. Denying that Jesus was returning, they went back to their past sinful ways.  They failed to, “Make straight the pathways of the Lord.”  

Today too, many grow impatient.  Belief in Christ’s return falters and many have gone back to sinful ways: failing to keep faith, turning away from God’s love to follow paths of their own design and choosing.  They have allowed the distractions of the evil-one - of this world - to place doubt and disbelief in their hearts.  They have chosen a way that is not God’s way, their path is not the pathway of the Lord, but the path to destruction and death.  In their impatience they fail to heed the cry, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”

This Advent and every Advent is our time of preparation, not just to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and all that we’ve allowed this day to become, - but to, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!” We are called to make our hearts ready and to wait patiently, in preparedness, - in faith, for the day our Lord, Jesus returns to bring us into the promise of God’s heavenly kingdom.

Today we have two joyful events taking place in our community of disciples in Christ Jesus.  At the 9:00 AM liturgy we welcome two adults into our community.  LaTonya and Jenna have heard the call of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and are now prepared to enter into the Catechumenate on their journey of discipleship in Christ in His Church. They are preparing the way of the Lord by studying the Word of God and the ways of Christ in His Church.  With your prayers and guidance they hope to enter fully into the life of Christ at the Easter Vigil. 

We also have two infant baptisms today.  The parents of these children, gifts of love from God, have chosen to “Make straight the pathway of the Lord” by having their children baptized.  So begins their journey of discipleship in Christ Jesus which will lead them into a life of faith and the loving embrace of God.

As a community of believers, who each Sunday profess our faith that Jesus will come again to bring us into the peace of God’s kingdom, we rejoice in welcoming these two adults and these two children into our community of believers.  Together, in Christian love and fellowship, we go about doing the Lord’s work: “Making straight the pathway of the Lord” by our thoughts, words and deeds – teaching our newest members the Good News of Jesus Christ, as we live good and holy lives in expectation of our Lord’s return. ~Amen

Deacon Don

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