Are we there yet?
The story is told about a couple who took their 5-year-old son on a long road trip. He was so excited at first, but as the trip dragged on and boredom set in, he kept asking: “Dad, are we there yet?” At one point the father said: “If you ask that question again, we will turn back and just go home.” That kept the boy quiet for some time. Finally, unable to bear it any longer, he asked in almost a whisper: “Dad, will I still be five years old when we get there?”
In today’s Gospel (Mk. 1, 1-8), we hear how the days before the coming of the Messiah were filled, not with boredom, but with excitement, with the passionate preaching of John the Baptist. The people of Judea and Jerusalem were coming in droves to listen to his message of forgiveness and repentance, and were being baptized by him. As Christmas approaches, are we excited and inspired, or exhausted and tired?
For Christmas to be truly Christmas, it has to happen in the heart. And it all starts with humility and repentance, and acceptance of Jesus in our hearts. Let us joyfully await Him, and not merely Santa Claus, or the Christmas bonus, the gifts, the parties and reunions. Without Jesus in our hearts, we will just be touching base with the trimmings of Christmas.
Today we light the second candle of the Advent wreath which signifies peace. Are you at peace with God? Have you made your peace with the Father who loved us so much that He sent His only Son for us? Make that confession, that adoration, and be reconciled with Him. Do not stay away from His embrace too far, too long.
Are there people you need to reach out to, in humility, for peace and reconciliation? Let not pride block your road to peace. Humility is the key that helps us to open closed doors, and helps us level our mountains of pride. The road of humility is not easy, but it is the road, the only road, to true and lasting peace.
Are you at peace with yourself? Peace comes with acceptance. Accept your past and be at peace. Leave everything and everyone in your past, good or bad, happy or sad, in God’s heart. No rewind, no replay. Leave your past in God’s heart where everything is forgiven, blessed, embraced, and loved.
You are at peace when you learn how to leave the future in God’s hands. We have to accept that there are many things beyond our control, try as we might, so we just have to do our best, and leave to God the rest. We have to learn to trust God more. No fast forwarding, and no useless worrying.
Who is our model for true peace? Mama Mary! She was peaceful in spite of her trials and sufferings, and she was an instrument of hope and peace. Why? Because she knew how to trust in God. “Thy will be done, Lord.” This is the best prayer that leads us to true and lasting peace. “Fiat Voluntas Tua!”
Dec. 12 is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her message to Juan Diego to whom she appeared, and to us who are often worried and scared is: “My child, have I ever failed you? I am here. I am your mother. Do not fear. I am near.”
“Are we there yet?” Yes, we are there already, but not yet. Our work for peace is a continuing process. We ourselves are a work in progress. Let us not be dismayed by or lose heart over road blocks and delays. We are assured, we are confident, that our Lord, the Prince of peace whom we serve, will be victorious in the end.
With St. Francis, we pray: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, make us peaceful instruments of Your peace. Amen.
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