May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome as we enter the third week of our new Church year and this Advent.
We have been focusing on our call to active engagement and preparation, both for Jesus’ return at the end of time and on our need for renewal for Jesus’ re-advent within us.
As Peter did last week, St. Paul writes in his letter to the Church at Thessalonica in relation to the kind of people Jesus’ followers – Christians – are to be, a people: holy and blameless in their entirety. Preserved blameless.
Well, thanks Father, great advice, Now, how are we to do that? I know that I try and fail much more than I would like. When confronted by stress and life’s everyday goings on I seem to slip back into old habits and sinfulness. When I know I should say something or do something, especially if I am unsure of a relationship, I get afraid and draw into myself. I can hear the priests and Levites asking me: “What do you have to say for yourself?”
Now we must be careful. We could let the facts of our current life, and the times we fail and sin, cause us to give up, to say I just cannot do it. We must not do that because as Isaiah proclaimed and Jesus admitted: the LORD has anointed Me; He has sent Me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners. We had recourse to that renewal in today’s Advent Penitential service
You see, we can check ourselves, we can say I can and will, I will not give up but rather rejoice in the very fact that Jesus came to set me free from my old ways and most particularly from being down on myself.
The practicalities, taking it one item or step at a time. I get mad driving – admit that and then practice exchanging curses for blessings and prayers. Overly critical of others, offer to help instead. Afraid to speak, take the risk. It won’t be easy, but it is possible especially when we keep an attitude of rejoicing in our freedom in Christ. He will not blame us, but rather grant us the grace to overcome.
The Baptist and Forerunner said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord.’” So let us remind ourselves to rejoice as we make our ways ever straighter, holy, and blameless in our entirety.