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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Advent II

Here is today's homily from the St Petroc Monastery.


As we thought about Advent last Sunday, we saw that this is a period of radical re-thinking of our way of spiritual and moral living and of looking forward to the coming of Christ - radical re-thinking. We so often have no understanding of our transgressions. We simply fail to understand the depth and seriousness of the apparently minor transgressions that we take as almost inevitable in the course of our daily lives. The “white” lie, the dismissiveness towards others’ sensitivities, the pure thoughtlessness, the aggression in pursuit of our own way, the petty dishonesties, the pervasive judgementalism. We constantly judge others, in particular, we judge those whom we think to be weaker than we are, those addicted to alcohol, or gambling or drugs. We are all addicted in one way or another, so it ill-behoves us to look down on the perhaps more obvious addictions of others.

For a start, we are all called by the Church to consider our failings and, by prayer and fasting, to seek to amend them. We do this in the light of the coming of Christ and our desperate need to ready ourselves. Let us consider this looking forward to the Coming of Christ. We know as a simple matter of fact that Jesus, the son of Mary, was the Incarnate Son of God and was here in this world for thirty odd years at a particular place and time. We know too that He had quite a lot to say which we have available, to read for ourselves. We know all that - it is not a matter for question or contention among us. So we “believe” that Jesus is in fact God. That all relates to the coming of Jesus into the world around two thousand years ago.

But there is far more than that.

In this season, and the Holy Nativity, we are thinking about His Second Coming into this world. It is very popular to express much of the New Testament in allegorical terms - and perhaps nothing more so than the Second Coming of Christ. It is an uncomfortable thought for those who lead Christian people astray, that there will come a time when Christ turns up here and requires answers. For a start, it smacks of the supernatural - and they wish to divest the New Testament of as much of the supernatural as possible. The Church however, teaches that the Second Coming is a frighteningly real matter which will happen. We admit that we haven’t the faintest idea when it will happen - but happen it will. Christ will come here again. It may be quite soon - who knows? The point is that we must, for our own good, read as much as possible about it in the New Testament and be sure that we know exactly what the Church teaches about the Second Coming. That way we can see why it is important that we prepare ourselves constantly.

So in Advent we reflect, we re-think our ways and we resolve to align ourselves totally with God and His will. That’s it in a nutshell: Aligning ourselves without reservation, no fingers crossed behind our backs, with what Jesus taught us. That is why the additions to the Liturgy throughout this season, refer constantly to this Second Coming, which He Himself emphasised again and again. We read “The night is far spent, the day is at hand”. Today’s Gospel recounts Jesus telling us that His Second Coming will be an event that will be both spectacular and crucial to everyone. We will be made fully conscious in the power of the Divine Light, we will be conscious of all that we did in rejection of God’s love and that consciousness itself will form
either the terrors of hell or the joys of Heaven, according to the individual.

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