Advent 1 2018 Dec 2 2018 Fr. Michael Cawthon
The name Advent comes from the Latin word “Ad-ven-tus” meaning “Coming”
and the Advent Season has been set aside by the Church since the 6th century as being a time of preparation;
for the Incarnation of Christ (His birth) and for His second “Coming.”
To prepare for the future:
the Collect tells us to cast away darkness and wear the amour of light and speaks of His coming to judge the living and dead.
In the Epistle we read to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh.
These readings prepare us for His second coming.
And then we have, what at first glance seems to be a very strange reading for Advent,
the Gospel reading / of the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurs in 70 AD when the city is completely destroyed.
In Matthew 21 – The Gospel Reading, we read of the celebration as Jesus enters into Jerusalem, and after the festive entry,
Jesus then enters the Temple.
The temple which stood for God’s presence with his people and was a source of spiritual identity / of God being One,
was the epic center of the Jewish people and their faith,
and begins to cast out all them that sold,
even overthrowing tables and chairs…
can you imagine this scene as emotions surely climaxed…
and then suddenly; they hear His words:
“My house shall be called the house of prayer;
but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
Today I want each of you to read the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, and observe “the blessings of obedience,”
and then “the curses for dis-obedience” which God speaks unto his people Israel.
In the Gospel, we see Jesus coming into the midst of His people, in the holy city, and then judgement comes upon those
who were putting spiritual things to selfish and material gain.
Even their righteous acclamation hides not the rotten state of the temple by the actions of her people.
In Mat 25:32 we read
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another,
as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats”
As the Jewish people were judged in 70 AD by the destruction of their Temple,
Christians are now warned that once again he will separate the sheep and the goats.
Some view these actions as vengeful, harming someone for an injury,
and we have in some churches preaching the picture of an angry God — Demanding JUSTICE.
We all have heard these sermons some of which have driven some from the Christian Faith,
because of an anger and a human justice portrayed and preached.
My friends our God is a loving
and forgiving God.
Yes, God demands and desires the perfection of His Laws into our lives;
Yes, there is a day of judgement…
yet it is He who comes and according to Hebrews 1:4
“by himself purged our sins”
thus curing His people whom he loved; my friends that is us.
God: the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is a God that loves you so much that he would arise and depart His Throne in Heaven,
(and for what?); to be born of a virgin (?),
to live as one of us (?),
to bleed and to die, so that we might live?
No vengeance is found here, no anger, and no demanding of a punishing justice.
Contrarily, what we see is a blessing of “obedience” and a Love beyond our ability even to understand.
A love of “giving of self” even until death itself.
His death was the end of the Old Testament and his resurrection is the birth of the New Testament.
The forgiveness of the past is given
as His Glory now lies in the future, our future.
There is no greater love than He has given to us;
and if we live within His will, if His will becomes our will,
then He will call us brother, sister, even mother and even friend. (Mark 3:35 and Matt 12:50.)
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13)
It is within this totality of Love that He opens His arms to us,
Inviting us to come unto Him.
He purged the Temple in His days, let him purge your soul this day.
Give him your sins, allow the great physician to cure your sinful diseased soul.
Today, invite Him into your life,
yes let your spirit cry aloud, “come Lord Jesus”
for He is right here and present for each of us – see and behold…
Leave this dead world behind, and begin to seek true life in His name.
If ye be purged, you will be strengthened;
when if strengthened, you can then apply your talents to Him and His Church.
If you become tired,
become refreshed by His Sacraments – live within His Will.
Jesus loves you totally and completely;
If you don’t believe me (?),
let us listen of His love for us / as we listen into a conversation / between God Father and God the Son … John 17 (19-24)…
Jhn 17:19 ”And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Jhn 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Jhn 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:…
Jhn 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;
that they may be one, even as we are one:
Jhn 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one;
and that the world may know that thou hast sent me,
and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Jhn 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me,
be with me where I am;
that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me:
for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
My dearest of friends:
From this day forward
Prepare for His “Coming”
Be with Jesus
Behold His glory
and become part of a Love which has been:
even before the foundation of the world. The hour cometh….