Word for Word 12/11/19

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg
Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg

For your meditation:
Isaiah 11:1-10
Matthew 3:1-2
Romans 15: 4-9

Peanuts - The little girl Lucy is saying that Christmas is a time for kindness and good will; a time to accept one another, welcome  others to our homes and into our lives. Charlie Brown responds by saying, “Why just at Christmas? Why can’t we be kind, accepting and hospitable all through the year?” Lucy looks at Charlie Brown and says, “What are you? Some kind of religious fanatic?” Well, that old religious fanatic, the Apostle Paul, was of the same mind as Charlie Brown. He saw Christian acceptance as a year round everyday quality which is an outgrowth of faith in the Christ who freely welcomes and accepts others all the time.

Paul said, “Welcome one... as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Our attitude to others must flow from the transformation brought about in us by Christ. Father Bill Menster in his book Strong Men South recalls this same Christ-like attitude that many of the men, on the journey to the south pole with Admiral Byrd, experienced. (Father Bill Menster was a Priest from the Archdiosese of Dubuque - a naval officer in World War II - a good friend.) Many of the men turned their lives to Jesus Christ. They took to heart  the words of John the Baptist. “Repent, for the kingdon of heaven is at hand.”

As St. Paul exhorts all of us to live according to the Spirit of Jesus saying, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify God.”

History is filled with men and women like Fr. Bill that experienced this. An example is St. Augustine who turns his life to Jesus Christ. “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” How late have I loved thee, O love divine.”

The lives of these people remind us that we too can turn from our sins and become loving, generous people. The lives of these people remind us that God wants to do for us, what he did for them. The lives of these people remind us that God wants to give us the same grace that he gave them.

This is what the Advent is all about. It’s the season that invites us to transform ourselves from sinners to saints. It’s the season that invites us to take to heart the words of John the Baptist.

“Repent, for the kingdon of heaven is at hand!”

It’s the season that invites us to take to heart Paul’s Prayer for us.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another. In keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another. Then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Enjoy the journey!

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg
Lansing

 

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