My Sisters and Brothers in the Catholic Faith!
We believe, we know, that there has been a donor to replace the missing heart of Jerusalem, the donor is the Almighty God who offered his Son, Jesus Christ, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, to replace the Temple that was once there. The Temple was the space filled with God’s presence, his glory dwelled there. Those who went there had an encounter with the Living God. The Temple was also the source of instructions on how to live godly life and by praying in the Temple the faithful were given the grace to live those holy instructions. A faithful Jew was also going to the Temple to sacrifice. His sacrifice was an atonement for his sins as he was realizing that his lifestyle didn’t follow God’s instructions. The Jew would also listen again to the Law of God to renew himself in his commitment to follow this Law and to beg God for his grace to do that. It was continues rhythm of returning to the Temple in order to return strengthened to his daily life after visiting the Temple.
We, Catholics believe that Our Lord, Our Messiah, has taken place of the Temple. As we approach him confessing our sins we obtain God’s forgiveness. As we listen to his instructions we learn about godly life and we are given grace to live these instructions in our daily life. To ensure that our system doesn’t reject this new heart, who is Jesus Christ, we need faith. Is not simply knowing things about Jesus but it is about clinging to Him, conforming our thoughts, desires, actions and dreams to his Holy Will.
This First Sunday of Advent calls us to that as we hear: “Stay awake!” When I was growing up in Poland we had 6am Masses in Advent. Believe me, 6am in December in Poland doesn’t look like in Australia. It is dark like at midnight and it was freezing. Attending the Mass was a struggle, it was a fight not to fall asleep. Maybe I didn’t remember much from those Masses but I have learnt an important lesson: Jesus Christ is worth of that. Believing him is worthy of fighting of the influences that try to distract us from Eternal Life. “As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept them away.” How sad and shallow it is when people eat and drink and that’s it. Rather they should eat and drink and give praise to the Lord for his gifts. What they eat and drink shouldn’t just make them fat or drunk but grateful to the Lord. How sad and shallow it is when people marry and have children and that’s it. Rather they should discover God’s love in the way they love and are loved by their spouses and children. God gave man to woman and woman to man so that they could become a way leading to heaven for each other not a way leading them away from heaven.
That’s why we need faith to see beyond what anchors us in this world. We need faith to be joyful Catholics who see in Jesus’ holy will, in his instructions, our happiness. So “Let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark and let us live decently ad people do in the daytime.”
Maybe our world isn’t most supportive of the Catholicism but we don’t have to copy its ways. People were clever enough to invent lamps to extend their activities into the night. Faith is Jesus can extend our Christian way of life into a non-Christian world.