Sunday, November 29, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

The season of Advent is about preparing us for the coming of the Lord.

This purpose in Advent is really twofold. The immediate purpose is to prepare for the coming of Jesus in his historical birth at Christmas. With this purpose there is the built in tension between the Christmas of the Christian and the Christmas of the world.

One is spiritual and filled with joy as we await then celebrate the Incarnation — God becoming man — as he entered this world through Mary's conception and birth. The other is materialistic and centered on Santa Clause, gifts, endless buying and debt for the new year.

There is no question that the season affects nearly the whole world and is important spiritually, economically, socially and on levels that are even unconscious.

The other spiritual purpose is equally as strong throughout the entire season of Advent. The coming of Jesus Christ is his long awaited coming at the end of time — the second coming of Jesus Christ. This one demands our spiritual attention and deepest personal commitment.

This is the moment when there will be no hiding, no escaping, no mistaking, no Plan B. When this moment comes, we must be ready. When this moment comes, it will all be over.

This is the time when Jesus Christ will take back everything that has come from God to return it to God. This is the time referred to as the "final judgement."

It should be no surprise then that the word of God repeats again and again: "prepare the way of the Lord; be ready; stay awake; be alert; open up; listen."

The language of the Bible that greets us during this time is apocalyptic, strong, demanding, forceful, promising, hopeful, and it seeks our commitment. This is John the Baptist’s time. This is the time of renewal and change of heart.

If we ready our spirit for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we should have a spirit that is open and ready to meet Jesus Christ any way and any time that he comes: in his word, in the Gospel, in one another, in our sin and struggles, in the darkness of our world.

This is what the church believes. This is why we celebrate. Indeed, the good news of Advent is: "The Lord Jesus shall come! Rejoice!"

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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