May the Peace of Christ reign in our hearts.
With this 1st Sunday of Advent we begin many things anew.
We begin a new translation of the Mass.
It is a translation which sounds a little foreign and maybe even awkward the first couple times you hear it.
However, it is a translation which the scholars tell us is much more faithful to the text of the Mass said all over the world.
It will be hard for us to keep it all straight for a while but sooner or later the old translation will fade in our minds and all we will know and love will be this new translation.
As you all know the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the new Church Year.
The page in our lives for this next Church year is blank.
While we have been created in the image and likeness of God,
and while God gave us the ability to understand and choose,
the best possible choice for a follower of Christ is to allow God to shape mold our lives.
As the Gospel pointed out we are at our best when we realize that we are the clay and God is the potter.
We are at our best when we allow God to mold us and shape our lives according to His will and His plan.
You know being a pregnant teenager never figured into Mary’s plan to be sure.
I am sure that Mary’s pregnancy never figured into Joseph’s plan either but that’s what God needed and so they surrendered their will to God.
You know Elizabeth and Zachariah were childless and alone.
Having John the Baptist was great joy for them but if they had had their way they would have had John the Baptist when they were young.
God had other plans. Elizabeth’s pregnancy even at an advanced age helped Mary accept God’s will in her life, for as the Angel Gabriel said “nothing is impossible with God.”
You know John the Baptist was a courageous holy man.
From his childhood he desired to do God’s will.
The scholars tell us however, that there is a good chance that as he took his step into manhood he probably envisioned himself more as a zealot a kind of guerrilla warrior sent to drive out the Romans by force than a humble itinerant preacher.
Once he opened his heart to God’s will he ended up living in the desert and calling people to repentance through baptism.
In his youth he would have longed to die in battle,
instead he died in prison.
His head was presented on a silver platter as a gift to a girl who knew how to dance and her evil mother.
John’s words “He must increase I must decrease” haunt anyone who has ever heard them and understood them.
They could only have been uttered by a man who surrendered everything to God.
You know even Jesus... slowly came to understand God’s will in His life.
The Gospel of Luke tells us that “he grew in wisdom, understanding and love of the Lord.”
One day probably early in his life he must have realized that he had special relationship with God.
Some say at his baptism he understood that he was called to be the Messiah and accepted this call.
And then with the temptation in the desert he figured out just what kind of Messiah his father was calling him to be....
What is God’s plan for us this year ?
What does God have in store with us?
What challenges will we face?
What blessing will we receive ?
A wonderful Italian lady from New York and a dear friend always used to always say to me.
”Fr. Robert if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.”
This new Church Year
Let us ask ourselves
Where do we fit into God’s loving plan for humanity?
Will be we be ready and attentive when he calls or will we have grow complacent.
Pray God let us be attentive and let us surrender ourselves to God’s will and God’s plan.