What is time? Immediately, we understand time as cyclical. After the 59th second, it goes back to zero. After the 59th minute, it goes back to zero. After the 12th hour, it goes back to 1. After winter is spring, then summer, then fall, then back to winter and so on and so forth.
Rejoice always! Surely there are moments when rejoicing is very appropriate and comes to us spontaneously and naturally. But “always”? What kind of a world did Paul live in that he could say such a thing...
Do you personally like change? If asked, many people would probably answer “no” or “it all depends on what was changing.” That’s fair enough of an answer. But in all honesty we must admit that it is often the case that people, for whatever reason, generally do not like change. It often meets with mild to strong opposition...
Today, my nephew graduates from the Police Academy. A career as a police officer has been part of his dream since he chose to major in Criminal Justice in college… Coincidently, his graduation ceremony falls on the First Sunday of Advent and for us Christians this day marks a new beginning.
We have heard these words so many times we may overlook the significance of what they mean. The birth of Jesus came about because of the cooperation of ordinary human beings. We know that Mary was an ordinary young girl - chosen to do extraordinary things - but she was still ordinary in the sense that she was of the usual stock and family and characteristics of her time. Joseph, too, was an ordinary, hard-working laborer, a well-respected member of the community but definitely an “ordinary Joe” of his day. Both were rather remarkable for their “unremarkableness.”
At the end of our recent election I heard people of both sides saying T.G.I.O. – Thank God it’s over. They were expressing the weariness of a long and stressful election cycle. At this time of the year when advertisements barrage us from every direction about buying for Christmas and the countdown of shopping days to Christmas, I am sure that the annual question of “When will it be over?” is occurring in the wearied minds of many.
We are all familiar with the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” In today’s gospel, the prophet John the Baptist echoes clearly this truth when he confronts the phoniness and externalism of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
St. Augustine recounts in Book VIII of his Confessions the pivotal point in his conversion process:
Stung into action, I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting, for on leaving it I had put down there the book of the Apostle’s letters. I snatched it up, opened it and read in silence the passage on which my eyes first lighted...
Today’s gospel reading on this fourth Sunday of the Advent season recounts so much more than a visit between two cousins. For the hearers of the gospel in Luke’s community, this passage points to the fulfillment of God’s long-awaited promise of salvation. How so?
Contrary to popular belief, it is Advent that is the true season of giving. Do you want this Christmas to be more joyful? Give. Are you hoping for some of the spirit you had as a child? Give something away. Are you struggling to fend off loneliness, disappointment, or regret? Give something up. The best preparation for Christmas is to give.
Any of us who has driven through an interstate highway construction site is familiar with the lingo and signs that accompany such an endeavor: shifting lanes, detour ahead, reduced speed, no shoulder, bottlenecks, traffic jams and delays. Road construction is an inexorable process and at times as we are sitting in traffic (impatiently) waiting we can see what the end result is going to achieve.
The taste of Thanksgiving turkey is surely still fresh on some of our tongues. But today the invitation is to move on to savor something quite different, indeed, something much richer and long lasting. Today we begin the Season of Advent, a time of expectation and of preparation.