2nd Advent (Note & Bulletin)

When I was working in Thunder Bay among the Native Peoples for a few months some years ago, I remember how much they appreciated the ministry of one of the Jesuits.  They said that they did not want him transferred because he made them feel better about themselves.  His “success” in his ministry as a priest was not identified with the establishment of some program that had revitalized the community; it was not linked to an increase in Mass attendance or the growth in the use of Native symbols at church.  Instead it was simple and true – he made them feel better about themselves.  I sometimes find myself thinking about the painting of Mary, Untier of Knots that hangs in the upper church.  In the image Mary is shown untying the knots that came with the sin of Adam and Eve.  It is an interesting image for us to contemplate as we are preparing the way for the Lord, preparing our community and ourselves for a time in which the truth of our life is more clearly revealed. 

We can live lives that seem as if we are tied up in knots.  We can focus so much on the dissatisfaction we feel within ourselves.  We wish things could have been different and that we could be different.  And so our displeasure that we feel within expresses itself in a variety of ways.  We can appear sad, as if we are carrying around a heavy weight.  We can appear arrogant, always taking any opportunity to speak of ourselves and dominate the spotlight.  We can appear angry, lashing out at others to distract others from seeing the wounds we carry.  In the First Reading, however, we are given a different horizon.  Gone are the knots that limit life.  Present is the freedom of God’s Kingdom grown through love.  Isaiah writes that “the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.”  And Paul writes that our God is a God of “encouragement.”  I think much of our Advent work is not in untying the knots, the knots of judgment, excessive criticism, insecurity and a feeling of a lack of worth, but in simply placing those knots in our hands and allowing another, that is, the Lord, to untie them for us.  

Our preparation in remembering the Lord’s first coming and our expectation of his return is a time of joyful celebration.  The Lord did not come out of condemnations.  He came with love and the gift of freedom.  We are free because we are coming to know we are loved.  The knots are being untied.  We must allow them to be untied!  The Lord makes us feel better about ourselves.  This is not a cheap psychological cure.  He makes us feel better about ourselves in our hearts.  In Christ, we see who we are in God’s eyes.  In Christ, God speaks to us and reminds us that we are his, that we are his beloved.   

God Bless & Take Care!

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Weekly Parish Bulletin420.74 KB

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