Summary: An advent reflection on the the urgency to be prepared for the arrival of the Savior
The Chapel of Dismas The Repentant
A place where we know that the church of Jesus is an evolving, transforming and
liberating clinic for sinners and not a museum for the self righteous
AA 5/38-40 Lk.23 42-44
We live in challenging times. The great non-violent revolutionary Gandhi identified the seven deadly sins as: politics without principle, wealth without work, commerce without morality, pleasure without conscience, education without character, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice. It is safe to conclude that all seven of these conditions are pervasive in our culture. . Peace evades us and tranquility shuns us .We have conquered the atom but not our prejudices. We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We love too seldom and hate far too often. We are a society polluted with fears, self-appointed victims and a very self-destructive sense of pride and arrogance. It appears that we are a society waiting for change and anticipating consolation. We are searching for answers, conversion and liberation
These cold hectic days preceding the celebration of the birth of the Liberator of Mankind has been designated as a period of waiting and anticipation. The ancient and eternally relevant message of the prophets and the Baptist is repent and be prepared for your salvation....
During these days of anticipation and expectation certain questions become quite pertinent. What are we expecting? For whom are we waiting? Who is the source of your expectancy? Are you hopeful or anxious about what is to come?
We are not anticipating the sweet little Jesus boy of the black spirituals. The liberator of mankind will never again occupy a human womb. The miracle of the incarnation need never repeat itself. We are anticipating the final coming of the Lord of the Universe, the Judge of the living and the dead. Just as surely as he once humbled himself to share in our humanity, Jesus will return. The first time He arrived as a weak dependent, insignificant infant born in poverty Two thousand years ago he came to us as a humble member of a small, politically powerless, oppressed nation on the periphery of the Roman Empire. When he returns, he will appear as the Glorified Lord of the Universe. During the course of his earthly ministry, He permitted His father’s chosen people to put him on trial for anarchy and sedition against the religio-political-social establishment. Two thousand years ago, those He came to save executed Him as a rabble-rouser and a political criminal but the next time he comes all creation will stand in judgment before Him.
We believe that this world that we know and enjoy will one day cease to exist and on that final day the only thing remaining that would have been made by us creatures will be the scars on the sacred body of the savior. This belief that Jesus is returning to judge us is one of the most ancient dogmas of our faith. We know that our Savior is returning, simply because the God- man himself who can neither deceive nor be deceived has assured us that he will return to judge us
As Christian we believe that on the other side of our final breath each of us will have a very personal encounter with Jesus. That meeting will determine how we spend eternity. This imminent meeting with the Judge of the living and the dead may be precipitated by our individual demise or by the final coming of our Blessed Savior. No one knows which will come first. We have absolutely no way of predicting when we will be called before the judgment throne of Christ. But let me assure you that no one has been guaranteed the opportunity to celebrate Christmas 2004.
While none of us can predict when we will encounter Christ the Judge, we can and must prepare for that meeting. If Jesus came this evening, as he very well may, would you be ashamed to meet your savior? Worst yet would you be terrified to meet your judge? If you were called before the throne of judgment today would your judgment be a catastrophe or would it be the fulfillment of all your hopes and expectations? If sister death escorted you form this life tonight what would Jesus say to you? Will He say;” Well done good and faithful servants enter into the kingdom that I have prepared for you from all eternity?” Or will the Liberator of humanity tell you to go to hell? Now throughout my life many people have told me to go to hell, perhaps the immense amounts of times I have heard those words should lead me to reflect upon my interactions with others but the one person I do not want to hear those words from is Jesus of Nazareth.