In this Advent season, we are looking forward to the arrival (adventus) of Christ, not only at Christmas time, but when he returns “at the end of the age”.
Paul, in today’s reading from Philippians, urges us:
My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ.
I would say to all Christians: Let’s spend more time become ‘pure and blameless’, examining our consciences and going to confession. Remember that the devil knows your failings, and is only too ready to point them out to anyone who doesn’t agree with you so that they may call you a hypocrite and use that as an excuse for not believing you about the important things in life (yes, other people sometimes take great delight in accusing us). For an obvious example, look at how the action, or rather the inaction, of Archbishop Frank Little has caused immeasurable harm to so many abused children. When we Christians set a poor example, how can we expect anyone to believe us?
So to continue in our examination of conscience … Do you harbour feelings of resentment towards anyone? Is there anyone in your family you don’t speak to? Do you constantly gripe about ‘other people’? Is there any aspect of Church teaching you have difficulty believing? How hard have you tried to understand Church doctrine and educate yourself? Are you ready to defend and explain your faith? Keep going here …
If you, like me, have relatives who do not follow Christ, there is a wonderful new resource out from Brandon Vogt to help you draw others to Christ. Prayer is essential, but there are also many practical things you can do. Sign up to Help Them Return.
Finally, here is an excellent talk from Bishop Robert Barron on the historicity of the Gospel, based on today’s Gospel Reading from Luke. And a fantastic video on what exactly we mean by the Gospel. Can you explain the Gospel, or are you tongue-tied?
I must admit to laughing my head off when I see people like Bill Maher dismissing Christianity as ‘silly stories’ and ‘intellectually embarrassing myths from the Bronze Age’. Observe Stephen Colbert’s humility in the face of Maher’s attack and note that Maher doesn’t actually address Christianity’s claims using serious historical argument, but merely indulges in name-calling.
Anyway, if you want an answer to Bill Maher and his straw men, watch this video from the ever relevant Bishop Barron.
Today’s Bulletin with Readings (Australia):
Word format Year C 2nd Sunday of Advent 2015
Pdf format Year C 2nd Sunday of Advent 2015