Saturday, November 27, 2010

Put on the Lord

November 28, 2010
First Sunday of Advent

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

“Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. Isaiah 2:3-4

“May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your ramparts, prosperity within your towers.” For family and friends I say, “May peace be yours.” Psalm 122:7-8

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Matthew 24:42-44

Piety is my readiness for the coming of the Lord. I can never be too ready. How we get ready is what the Consciousness Examen of St. Ignatius is all about. I fixate on where I see the Lord in my life. Those moments are always a wonderful surprise. The Lord comes when we least expect him. In truth, the Lord is always there. It is all too true that we do not usually realize we are surrounded by a thousand examples of the Lord’s love. Life itself is the creating hand of the Lord at work. A meditation or two on creation opens us up to what the Lord is about. When we hear the lord in our lives we will beat our swords into plowshares. We shall change our spears into pruning hooks. A nation shall not train for war again. The Examen of what we are doing with our lives allows us to walk in the light of the Lord. Individual moments of our awareness of the presence with the Lord of our lives allows us to stay in his presence more and more as each profound awareness of the coming of the Lord gives way to an ongoing perseverance in his presence in all of life around us and in us.

We learn day by day how to go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. We learn the roads that allow us to set foot within the gates of Jerusalem. It is the Lord’s city that we are looking for. Those who love the Lord prosper within the walls of the Lord’s protection. Today is the hour for us to awake from sleep. Our salvation is nearer to us each day of our life. We study the way of the Lord so that we can throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. We drink in the presences of Christ in our lives and apply what we learn about Christ to our own lives. We put on the Lord Jesus. We cut out of our lives the desires of the flesh.

The prayer of Consideration applies what we see to be true about Christ in his life to our own lives. We are waiting once again for the coming of Christ. Advent is a special time. When I knew I was going to have supper with the President of the United States, my brother took me out to buy a new suit so that I would be dressed accordingly for an important moment. I was frozen in inactivity because all the thoughts of my mind were on what was coming. I wanted to be ready. I needed the help of my brother to meet the president in a fitting way. As a priest, I find myself doing the same thing for all my people of God. I help them to get ready for Christ. All the preparations for readiness open the heart to a greater welcome of the one who is coming. Christ deserves the greatest welcome possible. Each year, I seem to do a little bit more to be ready. What gifts we give on a birthday celebration are faint adumbrations of the gifts we should be preparing to offer at the coming of the Word of God made flesh. Christ comes in all those we love. We try to share our lives with Christ. What gifts I will offer this Christmas are the preparation of Advent that the celebration of The Word Made Flesh will be better than ever.