4th of Advent (Note & Bulletin)

There are two things that I’m most afraid of.. snakes (don’t put one in my bed, please); snakes and holding babies. I manage to avoid snakes by living in a city, but often, at a baptism or other events, a child is put into my hands. I grew up in a small family and was the youngest and so, did not have too many opportunities to hold one. And so, now when a baby is put into my hands, I don’t know if I’m to hold the back, the bottom or the head. The trick I use is to look at the mother’s eyes. If they get big and look fearful then I know I’m holding the baby incorrectly. In short, I always feel unprepared, inadequate and incompetent when it comes to holding a baby.

In a similar way, as we begin the fourth and last week of Advent, maybe we feel a little unprepared, inadequate and incompetent to receive the Lord. But the thing is that the Lord is coming and coming soon. In the Gospel this week we hear the words of Elizabeth in which she praises God. As she sees Mary, she shouts, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” Even the unborn St John the Baptist “leaped for joy” with the sound of Mary’s voice. For St Elizabeth and St John, the coming of the Lord is a time of rejoicing. But sometimes for some of us, because of our feelings of unpreparedness, inadequacy and incompetency the coming of the Lord may engender fear. We may think to ourselves, “I want to feel joy, I want to rejoice, but I don’t think God thinks I’m ready. I need to do more, I need to prepare more.” What is most sad about such feelings within our hearts is the realization that we will never feel adequate or prepared. When the Lord says “I am here,” we may say the most painful words, and that is, “Not yet Lord.” We can be like the people who are written about in the Letter to the Hebrews. We think we need to make more offerings and more sacrifices in order to be given the gift of the Lord Jesus. And yet the Lord has said, I “have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and burned offerings and sin offerings.” So the pleasure of God, if not in these things, must be in his own offering and his offering is himself.

If God in Christ is offering himself what do we do? We feel unprepared, inadequate and incompetent, we feel we need more time, and yet God is offering himself now and he is offering himself to you! Can we not push aside, or lessen, our fear and replace it with peace—peace and gentleness that comes from receiving God? Even though his love, given our feelings, may be hard to accept and receive, why not listen and trust in God’s word? He doesn’t see our unpreparedness, our inadequacy, our

incompetency—he sees our goodness, our beauty, our holiness, our desire and our capacity and passion for love. For God has proclaimed “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” We may want more time, but the time is now! In his perfect love, God is offering himself. Be not afraid, receive the gift of the Lord in your heart.

God Bless, and Take Care!

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Weekly Parish Builletin358.87 KB

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