Advent Hope

1st Sunday of Advent
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Today we begin the Holy Season of Advent. It is a time for us to be uplifted in Spirit. The year 2020 has been, and continues to be a difficult year for not only our Country but the whole world. The Coronavirus has transformed our life and threatens our economic prosperity. Hospitals are reaching capacity levels and our health professionals are wore out and tired. Our Bishops and priests struggle with trying to maintain Parish attendance and some type of normality. Civility and love thy neighbor seems to have vanished from our way of life. We are told to forgo our family get-togethers, having only “household” Thanksgiving meals and Christmas meals; no more packed Christmas Masses with standing room only; and yes no Christmas choir’s and singing Christmas songs with our family and friends. So you may ask, “Deacon, how can we have an uplifted Spirit when we are tired and down?

The answer can be found in our readings. Our Responsorial Psalm gives us the answer: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.” Our first reading from Isaiah reminds us of our Christmas gift from our heavenly Father, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down with the mountains quaking before you…No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him.

Advent is a time for us to prepare our inner selves for the gift of salvation from our heavenly Father. We are tired and wore out with our present life, but God is about to descend from heaven and become one with us in human body and form to save us from despair, to save us from our own weaknesses and fears.

If you are like me you want your prayers of deliverance answered like yesterday. That’s because we live our lives by and through a calendar, on a lineal schedule. Our scriptures teach us a new way to govern our lives, a biblical way to measure our lives and that is by realizing that there are “times” for everything. Times of happiness; times of sorrow; times for living; times for death. All of these “times” are controlled and governed by God. Scripture also instructs us on how to acquire more “happiness times”. We are told to obey God’s Commandments if we do so our “bad times” will be reduced. We are instructed to serve others instead of ourselves. If we do so we will have many “good times”. We are told that God will descend from heaven and join us through the “good and bad times”. We are told to Listen to and live out the teachings of Jesus and our “bad times” will be washed away with happiness.

Our Gospel tells us another way to have “good times” and that is to prepare ourselves for the Parousia, the second coming of Jesus, when we will be united with God for all eternity and where only “good times” will be allowed to exist. We have scripture to guide us to this holy reunion where body and spirit will be united with God and sickness and death will no longer be a part of our lives. Only love and peace will prevail.

Jesus tells us in our Gospel this First Sunday of Advent, to get on the ball and prepare for this coming feast for we do not know when this time event will happen. Advent is the time for us to structure our priorities of life around this ultimate Christmas Birthday Party and the death of bad times for all of eternity. We need to love God with all our heart, souls, and minds. We need to love our neighbors and serve them with our life even when they dislike us. We need to celebrate Christmas even during “bad times”, knowing that good times are awaiting us just around the corner. Scripture tells us that “time” is coming!

This weekend around the world we give witness to the individuals who are planning for the future life with God by becoming members of the Church of Jesus. The bride of Jesus. What a wonderful Christmas gift to our spiritual Savior. We have at St. Paul’s one individual who has made the pledge and is studying to rejoin our Catholic Faith Community through reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a “good time” for Saint Paul’s Congregation to see and to pray for Heidi as she journeys to reception of these Sacraments. Through our Parish prayers and support we will have helped someone become a member of God’s family for all eternity. It is the “time” for joy and peace so let us all pray silently today’s Psalm: “LORD, MAKE US TURN TO YOU; LET US SEE YOUR FACE AND WE SHALL BE SAVED!

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