November 22, 2020
The Sunday Next before Advent
(1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Matthew 25:31-46)
It may strike some of us as hard to believe that one Sunday from today will be the beginning of the liturgical year – Advent. With all the turmoil we have had in this country the past year, is it surprising that we may not feel ready for the season upon us? We haven’t even got Covid-19 under control and we are nearly at Christmas!
Many a people have expressed a bit of hesitation in regard to Christmas being right around the corner. A year that has seen 1.3 milliondeaths around the globe, 250 plus thousand in our own country! Many fearing they too will get ill, all while many refuse to wear a mask – claiming it infringes on their rights. However, others have rights also – those who refuse to wear a mask are infringing on our rights by not wearing one and possibly infecting us. Systemic racism running ramped with our leader seemingly encouraging it. People are out of work or only partially employed. A new report shows hundreds of cases in which the deported parents of migrant children who were taken from their families cannot be located. The country severely divided politically – vehemently in some cases, with some even calling for a civil war. Civil war! Let that sink in if you please. I used to think we were a civilized nation, but apparently some want to revert to old western days. Divine Messiah, please come - now!
It would seem that we need to stop and examine ourselves with a pause and prepare for the season ahead of us. It is a perfect time to bring some joy into our frustrated lives.
Our Epistle reading for today speaks of the joy of having our death through Adam turned to life through Jesus Christ. We who have lived with sin and death hanging over our heads like rain clouds, can rejoice that the sun will soon appear. Christ’s birth and then death and resurrection is our hope, our salvation, and our joy.
Our current chaos will be taken away and replaced with knowledge that this too will soon die, and a resurrection will push us back on our feet. We want and need Jesus, while our children need Santa and prepare for a better year.
During Advent, the book of Isaiah becomes a beckoner of souls craving for our redeemer to come. Isaiah reminds us that God is the final word, not this world, not this virus, not white supremacists, not even manipulative politicians. God’s final word is that Jesus is the Word, and as such we can be sure of our future regardless of how it may look now.
Isaiah tells us to be ready for our savior and to, “Cease to do evil, learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:16b-17a) He goes further in the next verse, “Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Our country has struggled many times during its almost 250 years, and we have always surmounted the challenges. Let us get past the challenge to our democracy and work together to get past this epidemic in the year we will soon have before us.
This coming Advent, we can throw all of our anguish and grief onto the rugged cross that our Blessed Lord defeated. We have these little crosses in our humble chapel that we offer to anyone who wants one. They are made in Israel out of olive wood. Quiet appropriate reminder of the wood our Blessed Lord died on to defeat death and sin for us. I have frequently encouraged people to take one of these crosses and when life is filled with turmoil and sorrow, squeeze that little cross tight. Force those turmoil’s and sorrows into the cross. Jesus takes all of these and tells us, “I got you. It will be okay. Just place those concerns at the foot of My cross, fore I will lighten your load! Let me in! Let me help you!”
Advent is also a time when we remember Our Lady Mary. She knew of what we suffer, for she too suffered. Mary once said to her followers after Christ’s death, “My son did not say that we wouldn’t suffer, fore we will indeed suffer. It is not a question of whether we will suffer by following Him, because we certainly will. What is important is who do you go to when you do suffer?!”
We go to her son - Our Lord. But, let us not forget Our Lady’s power and persuasion with her son. Jesus performed His first public miracle because of His mother Mary. She asked Him to create more wine for the wedding at Cana. At first, our Blessed Lord seemed to chastise her, but she was not fazed at all. She tells the servants to do as He says. I can just see Jesus shake His head and smile a smirky type of smile and tell the servants to fill the water jars full with water. The miracle takes place. The best wine ever was made! Jesus loves His mother and will always heed her call. He will fulfill any request she makes on our behalf. In fact, He has merely given her the checkbook with a bottomless bank account.
Let us take time this week to prepare for the season of Advent. It will not be quite like Advents of the past, but not to worry, God will use this to His advantage in some way and help us find the comfort and direction we need in these turbulent times. Ask Our Lady also for help, in the person of Our Lady, Untier of Knots. She will come to help with the scent of blessed roses and many Angels in tow.
And when Christmas arrives, and it surely will, let us be like those in Whoville, even though the Grinch may have stolen the decorations, gifts and feast, Christmas morning will bring us reason to rejoice. Rejoice, because we can hand over all the tribulation from this year over to Him and have a blessed day!
God Love You +++
++ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis Chapel
San Diego, CA
We are beggars – As the epidemic continues (and even increases again) we continue to need your help. The virus keeps people away and thus donations are down, and bills pile up! Please helps, if you can, to keep our ministry alive and vibrant so that there is a place for the those needing respite from a troubled world! God Bless You +++