Monday, December 22, 2014

2nd Week of Advent (Cycle B)

First Reading:

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.

As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

   My brothers and sisters; welcome to the third Sunday of Advent also called "Gaudete Sunday" a day in which we are reminded by the festive liturgical color of Rose that we must rejoice because the Lord is almost here. Personally, I think this Sunday could not come any sooner, as I imagine that by now some of us might be reaching a saturation point. Many of us might still have a long list of things to do before Christmas and not enough time to do them, So; I will like to take his opportunity to tell you that if by now you do not have all of your Christmas lights out, or your cards in the mail, or your ginger cookies and houses made, or one of the other hundred little things we convince ourselves we have to get done in order to have the "perfect Christmas"; if we feel we are still "not ready"... Well,,, There is a strong possibility that some of these things will not get done in time.
  Now since this is Church and we are supposed to support and encourage each other I figure it will help if I share my own experience this year, specially as it comes to setting the Christmas tree at home, a few days ago. This year our family decided to invite some old friends to help us decorate our tree, so of course about an hour before people were due to arrive I dragged our 15 year old plastic Christmas tree out of its resting place in our basement and started setting it up. This is when I discovered that long sections of the string lights which are built into the three were not lighting, resulting in a tree with some very noticeable dark areas.
  Like I mentioned before, this year we invited some dear friends to come and help decorate the tree; a family we have known since before we all had children. As I heard them knocking at the door I accepted the fact that I had no time to fix the dark parts in the tree so with much sorrow in the heart and embarrassment in the face I gave up and decided to go with the tree as it was. After telling my sad story to our guests we all had a good laugh (at my expense) and proceeded to busy ourselves with placing the ornaments in our little tree. I took a step back to watch as the ribbons and ornaments kept finding their places and realized that the old raggedy plastic tree I had just dragged from the basement was no more. In its place stood a beautiful Christmas tree filled with the light and the love given by two generations of dear friends who have seen my kids and their kids grow together as one big family. To some our tree might not win an award, or make it to the cover of a magazine, but to our two families which have lived a whole lifetime together, this tree was the best present we could offer to one another... And you know what my brothers and sisters? It was one of the most beautiful presents we have given to one another in a long, long time.
  This is the message of today’s first reading, in this Gaudete Sunday. The Spirit of the Lord is the spirit of love, it brings joy to anything we do, if what we do, we do for love of others; it makes our heart rejoice not by the quality or the expense of what we are doing but by the meaning it has for us. When we do things out of love, the spirit of the Lord possesses us and clothes us with a rove of salvation and wraps me and my efforts within a mantle of justice.
  So in this Gaudete Sunday, ten days before Christmas, if you are feeling overwhelmed by all the things we still have to do; I'm here to tell you: It doesn’t matter... It doesn't matter if our tree is not the most handsome, or our house is not the one with the most Christmas lights, or if our plans do not go according to what we had in mind, or if we never get to realize our idea of what the "perfect Christmas" is supposed to be. What matters is that we pour our love into the things we get to do, because when the spirit of love enters into what we are doing, even if it is not the biggest, the most beautiful, or the most expensive thing;  our love will take what we are doing and transform it into something adorned with a diadem and bedecked with jewels...Something that comes from our very selves.
  Gaudete Sunday is a time to rejoice! REOICE AND BE GLAD MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS!! The Lord will be reborn in our hearts in just a few days! Forget about the million things we still have to do, and allow the Spirit of God, the spirit of love transform the few things we get to do into what really matters. Assure you if you do this, this year of all years, you will experience the "Perfect Christmas".

  From my family to yours, may you have a much blessed season of Advent and a very Merry Christmas Season!