Right is right even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.
The First Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 2, 2018
Romans 13:14 Abjiciamus ergo opera tenebrarum, et induamur arma lucis; Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.
Luke 21:33 Coelum et terra transibunt; verba autem mea non transibunt: Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.
At the urging of the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco, I have agreed to write occasional reflections.
On the first Sunday of Advent the Church begins a new Church year. Once again we begin to come in contact with the central mysteries of our faith. Actually we are invited to respond in faith to God, who lives and loves. We are drawn into His Being. This is not done in a merely nostalgic way, nor in a way that merely recalls events of long past. No, the Church believes that in its Sacred Liturgy what happened then happens now.
Yes, circumstances change from century to century, but the deep reality of God’s revelation and Who He is remain the same. He reaches out to us through the sacred liturgy in His Church for the sake of our souls. We must keep in mind that the Truth does not change. It cannot. However, since faith must seek understanding we can develop by God’s assistance in our personal understanding of what is eternal. We change; God cannot. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to study and pray over all that God has revealed in the Sacred Scriptures and in Tradition, living the faith in the Church. We are not free to change what has been handed down to us. We discover what is there and has always been there.
The Advent season is clearly derived from the Latin word “advenire”, which means a dynamic, active coming. In the history of salvation God has revealed to us that He comes as the God-man in three specific ways: 1.) The First Coming at the Annunciation at the moment of His conception, and then made manifest at His Birth; 2.) Jesus Christ always stands ready to come into our pure hearts here and now; 3.) Our Lord and Savior will return at the end of the world. This is His Second Coming.
The major obstacle to having the Lord draw near to us is mortal sin. However, the worst sin is not simply to reject God and live outside His sanctifying grace; but to refuse to step in His direction (by His constant prompting), to refuse to come into His light, which clearly means turning away from sin and toward HIs invitation to love Him and our neighbor. The rejection of the Light is a far worse deprivation of soul than embracing the darkness. The heart of darkness is to live apart from the God who loves us. We know that the only sure and certain way to be freed from mortal sin is through a sincere, devout, complete, confession of all of our mortal sins by kind and number. This is not a call to the excess of scrupulosity, but a trust in the mercy of God. Grace is always superior to its absence. All is grace!
Advent has much to teach us. We must put on the armor of God, the armor of light, to come into the light and live forever in the light. We must be obedient souls that take seriously God’s proper and justified demands from us, His commandments, if we wish to live forever in Heaven.
Heaven is for the obedient, not the disobedient, i.e. for the faithful, not the unfaithful. Jesus is the Mediator and Model of fidelity. Through Him, with Him, and in Him we find the answer to our deepest longings. We find perfect Love.
The eternal Jesus came as man over two-thousand years ago in a revolutionary event that has forever changed the world. Jesus comes to us daily by grace, especially in the life of the Sacraments, particularly through Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. Jesus will come again at the end of the world. In fact, the whole world awaits His Second Coming in glory.
Advent is an urgent time of renewal. Let us let Him come into our hearts, minds, and souls so as to be happy in this world and forever in the next. A good and faithful Advent will take us in that direction. At Christmas may we be able to say that we are living in Christ the light, in fact, we are the light of Christ to others in a real and true way.
Fr. Mark Mazza