Date: Sunday, December 16, 2018
During Advent we celebrate the coming of Jesus in the past, in the future and in the present. The dimension of time is emphasized but time is always associated with a place. When we remember Jesus coming in the past we think of Bethlehem or today coming to us at Eucharist. We can imagine moments in the day when Jesus comes as we wait in line, as we call someone on the phone, as we prepare dinner or as we mix with people at work. Strangely Jesus comes to us when we feel far from God. When we wander away through our sinful actions, Jesus is intent on coming to us in our isolation. In the Gospel on Tuesday this past week, Jesus makes this point to his disciples by using the example of a shepherd leaving ninety-nine sheep in the flock and searching out the one stray. “If he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.”
Today, in the Gospel according to St. Luke, the crowds are coming to John the Baptist asking him what to do. It is matter of both repentance and conversion. John’s direction is particular to one’s means and station in life: if you have two cloaks share one with a person who has none; if you have more than enough food give to the hungry, don’t cheat; don’t bully, don’t falsely accuse. John is saying: “Do what you are committed to do; be sensible, honest, and normal in your dealings with other people, or, in a word, be human. Do not exaggerate, do not defraud or impress anyone.” John is helping seekers of the One who is to come to examine their conscience.
Join us for our regional Advent Penance Services on Monday Dec 17 at 3:00 & 7:00 PM in the Church of the Annunciation, Elma. Neighboring pastors and priests will be available as confessors. Together we will have the opportunity to confess our sins, share and receive forgiveness and celebrate God’s mercy. It is a beautiful way to prepare for Christ’s coming.