An age-old custom in the Church exists in the many references to the Cross of Christ as A SIGN OF CONTRADICTION. The Cross is indeed a paradox - which each...
“Let the earth be opened and bring forth a Saviour.”
These are the closing words of this Sunday’s ENTRANCE ANTIPHON. In addition, the words are a very basic challenge to each one of us. There is only one way for our world to bring forth a saviour – and that is for all of us to bring forth a Saviour.
I have four days to get my own personal heart into shape
. My approach to these last days are all-important. I need to focus on my own immediate world …. the earth around me. There I must discover the people I live with …. as well as those hard-pressed and exhausted shop assistants, the stranger who accidentally bumps into me when I am loaded with my Christmas shopping. This where I must recognise my earth and give birth to my saviour.
It would be a good idea if we take some words from
TODAY’S PSALM [80 or 79] to heart. “Rouse up your might and come to save us.” Believe it or not there remains in all of us a power to rouse ourselves up and encounter many different situations and SAVE them. Hear the Psalm as an invitation from the Lord for us to make a special effort and visit the vine he has planted and protect it. Indeed, very often God-in-Christ uses us his agents in order to respond to those who “call upon his name.”
OLD TESTAMENT READING [MICAH 5: 2 – 5a] adds emphasis to what has just been said. The prophet records the poignant words – “from you shall come forth for me.” Here we have a telling Advent challenge. Something of God must come out of ME for HIM! Our Lord God wants, has a heartfelt desire, to “stand (amongst us) and feed his flock.”The only recurring problem is the fact that I have problems in assisting him to stand tall and available. I want, for fear of his productive presence in my own life, to downsize and keep him on a short rein. Once again I need to be reminded that Advent is not about me but HIM!
The mistake we too often make is the failure to see Advent as a time for action. It is the time, as Micah tells us, for labour. The prophet records
“until the time when she who has labour pains has brought forth.” We need these last few days before Christmas to FEEL IN OUR HEARTS THE NEED TO GIVE BIRTH TO SOMETHING (no matter how small) OF REAL VALUE FOR OUR. I must feel every moment of these last few days of Advent. The labour pains of giving birth to new life are intense and not a little anxious. However, they are always exciting and filled with hope. The mother will do her very best and that effort is one of effort, love, and expectation. She feels every moment. If we want Christmas to HAPPEN in, for and with us, then we have to labour. We must assist HIM to live proud and tall.
So, words from
TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT EXTRACT [HEBREWS 10: 5 – 10] are a spectacular invitation ….. “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.” Many translations render the wordbehold as here I am. In some circumstances it may well be that I proclaim behold!? It has been a difficult time but somehow or other I have managed to come through it all but I am still prepared to do his will. In other circumstances it is here I am. I have achieved a great deal and am eager with expectation. However I must remember thatexpectation is not enough, and I must still labour to give life.
OUR GOSPEL READING [LUKE 1: 39 – 45] comes into play. First of all, “Mary arose and went with haste.” REMEMBER OUR PSALM’S ROUSE UP? Well, rouse yourself …. there must be a certain but sure haste in our efforts these last few Advent days. It must be a haste but not a panic. It is not a matter of last minute shopping or culinary preparations.
Something much, much, more important and valuable is at stake. Am I ready and prepared to open my heart and discover that what the Lord has spoken to me will be fulfilled … and that, again, as our Psalm proclaims,
HIS face will shine on me and I shall be saved.