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Pastor's Letter 20211128 - 28 November 2021 - Patient Endurance

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November 28th, 2021

First Sunday of Advent


A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  

“Patient Endurance”

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

Our First Reading (Jeremiah 25:14-16,) echoes an earlier exhortation from the prophet, who takes his stand on God’s Word: a time must and will come when His promise to His people will be accomplished.  The day will dawn when the Son of David will stand among His people and when the New Jerusalem will stand forth as the true city of God.  This fittingly introduces the season of Advent, our “preparation,” for the coming of our Messiah.  Jesus is the “root of David” (Revelation 5:5,) Who will inaugurate the New Jerusalem, the veritable Kingdom of God.


Paul visited Thessalonica for the first time in the course of his second missionary journey, probably in the year, 50 A.D.  Jewish opposition forced his departure after a stay of no more than a few months.  He sent Timothy to visit, who reported on his mission. Today’s First Reading highlights Paul’s heartfelt prayer for the future progress of his converts (Thessalonians 3:12-4:2.)—one, in which he hopes to bring these Christians to a deepening of love within their community (a love that will then reach out to all people.)  Such “brotherly/sisterly” love is offered in, and  through, our Blessed Lord, Jesus, as expressed in their Godly way of living—with an authority expressed by Paul’s authentic life.  In our day, we begin to understand very well that pastoral authority is only effective—indeed, is only acknowledged—if the pastor is sincere, with concern that rings true.


Each of the three “synoptic” Gospels, (Mark, Matthew and Luke) has an “eschatological” or “apocalyptic” discourse.  Today’s selection (Luke 21:25-36,) makes a clear distinction between the destruction of Jerusalem and the End Time—two distinctive themes.  The first is historical (70 A.D.,) whereas the other is “eschatological”—the end of the age and the coming of the Son of Man.  Because of this he is convinced that Christians must adjust to a long period of waiting and persecution, and make up his concern about the coming of the Son of Man and to the theme of “watchfulness,” pervading all of Advent.  Luke writes of the cosmic signs and distress on earth that will foreshadow the divine judgment of mankind.  Then, Christians who witness the apocalypse will rejoice that their suffering and persecution will soon end, and their redemption is drawing near.  This “parousia” will be delayed, but will eventually involve all of mankind.  Since we know that “trials” may strike us, suddenly, we are remanded to be prayerful, and always prepared.  


The whole of the Advent Liturgy is one of pressing appeal for the coming of the Savior.  The cries of ardent longing, which went up to the Messiah throughout Old Testament times, are taken up again by the Church, which puts them on our lips, and causes us to repeat them ever more urgently, as Christmas draws near. 

Advent opens up before us immense perspectives.  The Church sets before us the whole work of redemption.  As one human generation follows upon another, the kingdom of God must expand until the day when Christ, gathering together His elect from the four corners of the earth, will bring them before His Father a His triumphant conquest to be led by Him into His kingdom.  

To that end, the virtue of patience is not, as a rule, one of the strongest aspects of most people today. Usually, we want things to be done quickly and efficiently.  Promises and appointments should be kept as accurately as they were made; otherwise, an outburst of “impatience” may follow….  We have all experienced the impatient and compulsive driver behind us who, anxious to pass, takes unreasonable chances and occasionally causes disaster.  Patients in hospitals obviously must practice the virtue of patience, waiting for recovery with patience, especially when they are old or sick for a long time, waiting for visits from friends and family, which requires even more patience.  

An example of classic impatience is that of the Jews at Mount Sinai waiting for Moses’ return from the mountain, who lost patience and constructed the golden calf:  Imploring Aaron to, “Come, make us a god who will be our leader” (Exodus 32: 1.)    

Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of Christ.  Promises have been made to us about a way out of our distress.  We have faith that salvation will come, but when?  We pray, but does God listen?  The Advent Bible Readings deal with this problem.  Waiting for somebody to come, i.e., Jesus Christ, presupposes patience.  We must accept the human condition of “not yet” with the patient hope for better things to come. 

Setting Out Again

This Sunday, each year, the Church invites us to embark on a great journey—that of the Liturgical Year.  (For those who think that Catholics don’t read the Bible, it would behoove them to trace the development of the Biblical story, as presented in each Sunday’s Bible Readings.  Over the course of three years, “Cycles A, B and C, the familiar Biblical stories are presented and reviewed, and are the themes of homilies, and this very “Pastor’s Letter.”)  As we begin, we set out to follow in the footsteps of the prophets of old, the lovely and poignant lessons of the “Wisdom Literature” (the Books of Wisdom, the Psalms and Proverbs,) and then proceeds through the New Testament, comprised of the Life and Times of Christ and His apostles.  As we relive the whole story—which we have heard many times—there is a danger we may see it as “old and stale,” perhaps like replaying an old video.  With minimal attentiveness, however, the celebration of each feast brings back the event in its original clarity and vitality, never allowing it to grow cold and lifeless, or fade into oblivion.  

Besides, we are not “spectators” but “actors” in all of this!  The mysteries of Christ’s life are represented in such a way that we are drawing into them, and become participants.  That makes it more demanding, of course, but also more enriching and exciting, as well.  Our stories merge with those of Jesus’ and His disciples, and are illuminated by them.  They enable us to live our own story more fully, and more joyfully.  God is not just a God of the past, but of the present…and the future.  

Even though we have made this journey before, we must strive to make it today, as if for the very first time.  Each week affords an opportunity to make a “new beginning” in our personal journey with our Blessed Lord.  The Early Christians believed the Second Coming was “near,” and would be preceded by spectacular “signs,” but “false prophets” have spoken of these through the ages, as portents of “doom and gloom.”  But Jesus spoke it as a day of liberation and salvation for His followers.  The world is not headed for catastrophe or mere ending.  God’s goal for the world is the coming of the Kingdom, in all its glory!  Therefore, we should not be fearful of our Lord’s Coming, but await it with confidence, vigilance and prayer….  More importantly, however, we should be concerned about the end of our own individual “world,” our death.  That is certain, whereas, the end of the whole world is out of our hands…. 

May God Richly Bless You!

"For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming, that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature.  It will be too late, then, to choose your side." 

~~C.S. Lewis~~

To view a live stream of today's Holy Mass, click here:  https://www.facebook.com/michael.schamp.9/videos/199426545610443/?d=n


My Soul Waits for the Lord.docx

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