A contemplative community in formation of the Institute of Saint Joseph
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Gospel today in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is from St. Luke, chapter 3, verses 1-6. It sets the tone for these last days before the feast of our Lord's Nativity on December 25th. The call to conversion, to penance, to openness to God and His marvelous works is sounded by Saint John the Baptist. Saint Luke records the exact historical moment of the Baptist's call to prepare the way for the Messiah, the "anointed One". And he shows how this call is recorded in the Prophet Isaiah with these words:
The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight;...What is crooked must be made straight. and rough ways smooth. Then all mankind shall see God's salvation.
This call is extended to us, today, after all these years of the preaching of the Gospel. The Word of the Lord is timeless, it "breaks into" our history in the Sacred Liturgy where Christ is present, truly present, as He was on the days He walked this earth.
Saint John the Baptist is a relevant saint for these times (as he has been throughout the ages), but especially so for our own day. The darkness of sin and evil, the breakdown of family life, the lack of reverence for human life in all its awful manifestations, the lukewarmness of so many, and the hostility to the Truth, Jesus Christ our Lord, in His Church, manifest for us who believe, the urgency of the call to repentance, fidelity and witness in the midst of this present age.
God is faithful. He sent us His Son to die for us, to give Himself to us in the Most Holy Eucharist and in His Holy Church. God gave us a Mother, Mary Most Pure. He also has given us the witness of countless saints who through their lives of heroic virtue and intercession for us gives us the strength and inspiration to live for Him.
In the Mass of today, the Opening Antiphon (Introit) calls down the "dew" of God: His Holy Spirit, upon this parched and tired earth.
Skies send down dew, and let the clouds rain the Just One; let the earth open and flower forth a Saviour. The heavens tell God's glory and the sky proclaims the works of His hands.
May the Lord, His Blessed Mother, Saints Joseph and John the Baptist help you to prepare for the great feast of Jesus' Birth. Know that you all are in our small monastic community's prayers each day.