Friday, December 14, 2012

Suffering Together

If one member suffers, all suffer together.
1 Corinthians 12:26 

See if you can relate to this experience.  

You heard today's horrific news of yet another senseless school shooting and the snuffing out of innocent life and your first reaction is one of shock and dismay.  But following closely on the heels of that reaction is a deep sigh of relief that it was not one of your children or loved ones who were killed.  That was my reaction.  And it's just here that I'm convicted that I have not yet fully understood or experienced the love to which our Lord has called us.  For when I do, I will realize that all are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and children.  If we love others as much as we love ourselves- if others truly are our neighbors- then their suffering is our suffering.

Tonight I am mourning.  I am not mourning as for my own children for by God's grace they remain healthy and safe.  Yet I sense that there must be some degree to which I must enter into the sorrows of those who lost their precious loved ones today and weep with those who weep.  

I cannot live there for that is a ticket to insanity.  We were not designed to live perpetually in grief.  Yet I believe the Lord would be pleased that as we offer our prayers for the families devastated by this tragedy we would add also our tears.  

Take some time and intentionally enter into their grief.  Perhaps our prayers will be stronger and their comfort will be greater.  And as you shed your tears, remember also to pray that such incidents will not be repeated.  

Lord, have mercy on us all!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent- Prepare For the Coming of the Lord

Today marks the Second Sunday of Advent.  This 4 week season has been given to us by the Church in order to help us prepare for the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas).  Whenever the Church celebrates a great feast it prepares with a time of fasting.  Most people don't think of Advent as a time of fasting.  While it isn't nearly as intense as Lent, it still is intended as a time of penance.

When we speak of the coming of the Lord it is intended in three senses.  First we are preparing for the coming of the Lord into the world at Christmas.  Second, we are anticipating that some day our Lord will return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead.  We use Advent as a time to focus our attention on being prepared for that time.  Third, we are preparing for the Lord coming to us each day in new and deeper ways. 

This week we focus on the ministry of St. John the Baptist.  He is sent to prepare the way of the Lord.  He does so by calling us to repentance.  In his words, we are to make very crooked way straight, fill in every valley, and level every hill as a way of making a highway for our God.  We are called to a thorough and intense scrutiny.  Ideally, we do this daily.  But sometimes it gets away from us.  Advent offers us the opportunity to ensure that things are right between God and ourselves.

I invite you to a most holy and blessed Advent!  Go deep and root out all that is opposed to God.  Seek Him and the abundance of the Grace He offers.  Prepare for his coming: today, at Christmas, and in the end when He returns.