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Preparation

In 13 Today's Church on 2016/07/01 at 12:00 AM

 

  • Our Lord commanded us in the Gospel to watch and be alert, for at a moment that we do not expect, He will come again to this earth for the final confrontation between good and evil.
  • St. Peter tells us that our Lord will come like a thief, and that the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar, and the elements will be dissolved by fire.
  • The world as we know it will come to end. And “the earth and everything done on it will be found out.” As time comes to an end, all of us will be ushered into eternity: those who have loved God to the joyful eternity of Heaven, and those who have preferred sin and darkness to the horrors of hell.
  • Thus, I spoke about orienting ourselves to the East, for like the rising sun, the Lord will come from the East arrayed in glory and with salvation in His hands, conquering sin and even death itself.
  • Today our readings take on an even more urgent tone as both the prophet Isaiah and St. John the Baptist call us to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight His paths.
  • Isaiah tells us of God’s awesome power, of how He rules by His strong arm. But Isaiah also speaks of the tenderness of the Lord: our Lord is like a shepherd who gathers His lambs in His arms, carrying them in His bosom and leading them with care.
  • And so for those of us who love God, who have lived our lives for Him, and who have placed our hopes in His mercy, there is nothing to fear with our Lord’s coming. For He is coming to save us!
  • St. Peter tells us that God is patient with us, not wishing that any of us should perish. And for this reason our Lord desires that we all come to repentance, for it is by repenting that we prepare the way in our souls for His coming.
  • The Gospel today focuses on the prophetic figure of St. John the Baptist, who not only tells us of the Lord’s coming but also proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
  • By our baptism our souls were made “straight” by being freed from sin. And we must constantly strive to return to our baptismal innocence by repenting of our sins – most especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • But preparing for our Lord’s coming is not done simply by repenting of our sins, so that we may be found without spot or blemish, as St. Peter says.
  • Repenting is only the first step, for preparing for our Lord requires that we also cultivate within our souls a true longing for Him. We must learn to desire Him.
  • Most of us probably remember the great longing we had for Christmas as kids – anticipating the gifts that would soon be ours. But how many of us long for Christ Himself in the same way?
  • Do we hope for Christ’s coming and His gift of salvation with that same giddiness we see in our kids on Christmas Eve? Do we long for and desire Christ as a bride longs for and desires her bridegroom?
  • Advent calls us to focus our hearts and souls on Christ, to meditate on His goodness, and to prepare ourselves carefully for His coming: repenting of our sins and learning to love Him and desire Him above all things.
  • It is for this reason that I hope to begin Eucharistic Adoration in our parish, for Adoration enkindles within us a greater love for our Lord.
  • For the past few weeks we’ve been praying for this intention at the beginning of our Masses. Hopefully many of you are praying the Novena in Honor of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament that we began last Wednesday for this intention.
  • As I’ve mentioned, it is my hope to have 33 hours of adoration each week, beginning on Tuesday mornings at 8 am and going until Wednesday at 5 pm. But let me talk to you about why you should sign up for Eucharistic Adoration.
  • First of all, there are many graces given to parishes that have Eucharistic Adoration, including increased attendance at Mass and confession, an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, the return of fallen-away Catholics, and greater unity.
  • Thus, Adoration will be a big blessing to our entire parish!
  • But there are even more benefits for parishioners who avail themselves Adoration.
  • First it helps people grow in their love of the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of theMass, for as Pope Benedict XVI has written: “Adoration outside holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what happened in the liturgical celebration and renders a true and profound reception of Christ possible.”
  • Spending an hour in adoration each week also helps people to slow down, to focus on what’s important in life, and to find peace and consolation in our dear Lord.
  • In spending time with our Lord, we actually become more like Him. We grow in holiness, and ultimately it helps prepare us for Heaven where we will spend eternity gazing upon the loveliness of the Lord.
  • As you consider signing up for Adoration, I want you to keep in mind a few things. First, by signing up you are making a weekly commitment to be here and pray with our Lord. We need 2 people for each of the 33 time slots to make sure someone is always there.
  • We also need people who are willing to fill in as substitutes for those times when our regular adorers cannot make it.
  • I also ask that if you are already a regular adorer at St. Gabriel’s Adoration Chapel that you do not give up your hour there in order to pray here. We’re not here to put St. Gabe’s out of business! So be sure to continue honoring your commitments there.
  • Also keep in mind that depending on how many people sign up for a given slot, we may not be able to honor your first request. Therefore, please be sure to put down an alternative hour that could work for you as well. We’ll do our best to fill the slots in a way that works for everyone.
  • Thank you! And may our worship of our Eucharistic Lord prepare us all for His coming.

 

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