The Pastor, Rev. James A. Konicki, and Congregation of Holy Name of Jesus, with Bishop Rev. Dr. Judy Murphy-Jack of Friends of Friends Universal Community Mission Church/Institute invite you to attend the Universal Praise in Classical Spiritual and Gospel Music, Skits, Liturgical Dancing and Poetry to be held at Holy Name Of Jesus, 1040 Pearl Street, Schenectady on Saturday, May 19th from 2pm to 5pm. Refreshments will be served. Please come to this worthy event and share with us this experience. All is welcome to support the program.
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?’ “It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth. I will fix a place for my people Israel.”
So here we are. In about six hours we enter into the Vigil of the Nativity. Six hours after that, we join in the celebration of the Lord’s coming, His Nativity, in candlelight and soft tears – our hearts alive with the spectacle of extreme love made real.
When we face extreme love, when we experience the power of God, we are left to stand in awe. Wow, look what God did for me, look how He guided my steps. The next thing you know, we want to do good, to repay God. David felt that way. He was humbled by all that God had done for him and wanted to reward God. God was not amused.
God says, look at all I did, I have complete and ultimate power to accomplish all things. I took a shepherd boy from nowhere and made him king. I protect my people, and you’re going to build Me a house?
God proceeded to tell David what would happen. I am going to build the house. I am going to establish the kingdom. From your people, your lineage, will come the King, the Messiah. I will raise up your Heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make His kingdom firm. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.
The rest of today’s scripture flows from this promise. Paul, writing as an Apostle of the promise delivered, tells his people, Give praise and glory to Him who can strengthen you. Rely on God to deliver – because He already did. He will make you strong in the face of everything. Don’t worry about what you can do for Him – but rather just praise Him, glorify Him for what He has done.
That reaction, that praise comes from our attitudes, our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. We are to be ready to give this witness of praise. Our praise is to be a living portrayal of the glory of the Nativity, the freedom bought by the Cross, the promise of the Resurrection, and the Ascension. It is living in advent expectation for His return in glory.
The end of our Advent journey is the beginning of a new and more powerful journey. It is time to rethink our reaction to God. God chose what would be done and He fulfilled all he promised to do. We can give Him nothing except to live differently, to listen like Mary and to react as she did – “Behold, I will do what the Lord asks, I will do His will. Let all things in my life be according to God’s word.”
Turn up the
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
When I was young, it seemed everyone had a big old console stereo system. You may remember these, a really big and long wooden piece of furniture with built-in stereo speakers and all kinds of electronic equipment.
These systems had various doors and hinges that opened sections of the system. They typically had a built-in record player under a hinged top. The front doors would open to access the radio and volume controls. interestingly, these furnishings are making a comeback.
These systems were very elegant, and for me, a great temptation! (especially at home, but not only).
I would sit on the floor before this impressive set of electronics and dream of all sorts of adventures. I could control a spaceship, launch missiles and destroy the Russians, wherever the mind could take me, I could go.
The one thing my fiddling around always seemed to accomplish was the shock and surprise my parents and their guests would get when they turned the system on. Boom! the radio was turned all the way up, and people jumped. So would I when I heard my name called…
For these days, where we particularly reflect on the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are called to do what I did with those stereo systems; turn up the volume.
This solemnity offers a unique opportunity to turn up the volume of our praise and worship, to acknowledge a love so great that its giver desired to stay with us forever. During this eight day period, we focus on celebrating and proclaiming more than a mere symbol or a nice memory – who would waste time doing that! We turn up the volume on the truth – the great giver of all love is with us here, now, and forever.
The great giver of love, Jesus Christ, is really present – body, blood, soul, and divinity in what appear to be simple bread and wine. He is in our hands. Sadly, only 40 to 91 percent of catholic churchgoers recognize Jesus. It should never be less than 100%. So, we need to turn up the volume. We need to sing out and proclaim His praises, revel in His presence. Let the world know.
Love isn’t something far off. Our great God allows us to eat His flesh and drink His blood and because of it we have eternal life. This simple fact must fill us, envelop us with such joy that we cannot help but turn up the dial on our praise. We need to live praise filled lives, overwhelmed by the fact that He is so close by, ready for a visit. Call the world to Him by loud thankful praise.