Sunday, December 16, 2012

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker

"Guadete en Domino semper" begins the opening prayer in Latin of the third Sunday of Advent – "Rejoice in the Lord always"!

This Sunday, the rose-colored vestments are worn, and the rose-colored Advent candle is lit. Rejoicing is proclaimed in both the first and second readings and the responsorial psalm. The readings shout out joy and great expectation. There is no equivocation here: Rejoicing is the feeling and attitude of heart that is right and proper. Be glad! The Lord is near!

But having said all of that, there is need for something more than just good feelings or even wild and joyful expectation. Something should be done. Something must be done. Lives are changed when hearts are changed. Proof of that change is when people begin to live differently, better.

The crowds asked John the Baptist: "What should we DO?" John gives a simple and direct response: "Share your cloaks, share your food, tax collectors stop cheating people, soldiers stop extorting people, don’t accuse people falsely, be satisfied with your wages."

Change of heart always shows itself as authentic and real when lives also change. "Rejoicing in the Lord always" is a way of living that allows the Spirit of God to fill us and to burst forth from us in actions that are God-like. Rose-colored vestments and candles are a sign of something that has hopefully happened to us during our Advent.

Hopefully we have heard the good news of God's mercy and love. Hopefully we have discovered our ability to be in touch with God both within self and with others. If we have indeed been alert, awake, hoping, waiting, seeking, there is no doubt whether God is coming among his people. Indeed, he is already near!

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

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