Make It Happen, Jesus!
#MakeItHappenJesus is the podcast for December 2, 2018, the First Sunday of Advent. When everyone else is trimming trees and baking cookies, we are the ones saying, “THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END!” Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Luke21 #Advent #Parousia #RealEstateDeal #LiftYourHead
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For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 12/2/2018 The 1st Sunday of Advent.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 21:25-36.
(Forebodingly) The heavens will be torn in two! There will be earthquakes! There will be a tossing of the sea with great waves. People will faint with fear and foreboding!
(Annoying marketing voice) Happy holidays!
Well, here we are again, Advent. It is a word that means “coming.” As the world is celebrating with lots of candies, food, parties, big birds stuffed with stuffing carved and piled high, and all the shopping, we, on the other hand, gather in our Churches to hear about how the world is coming to an end (cue Matchbox 20 here). We come to hear how there will be great tribulation, how we will see signs and wonders, the fig tree will be our cue. Down right scary at first blush!
We put out the same color that we put out at Lent. It is no accident. In Lent, we will think deeply about our sin. We will give up something to remind us that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We will be truly penitent and go to confession (I said, “Go. To. Confession.”). It all moves along until we hear the story of the death of Christ and it crescendos into the glorious and magnificent resurrection. Then, we celebrate. Alleluia’s all around.
In Advent we, from the ambo, tell everyone to gather for Confession. We have our Advent Penance Service because the first thing we do, before we celebrate the coming of Christ as a baby in the manger, is we celebrate the coming of Christ at the renewal of the heavens and the earth. Yes, I said celebrate.
My mother, who sold real estate for 35 years as I have said before, used to impart to me bits of wisdom. “The person who says a number first loses,” she said of negotiation. Another pearl from mama is this, “the one who stays calm in the negotiation will come out with the best deal.” Think about it, the person who has a plan, keeps cool, and executes the plan is the person who has a clear head, is not moved to make emotional purchases of real estate. Although, another pearl she said is that “real estate is an emotional investment. Sell the emotional and it will pay off.”
I believe that Jesus is telling us the same thing about the Parousia. That is what we call the beginning of the New Heaven and the New Earth when he comes again, “the Parousia”. Of course, when He comes again all hell is going to break loose. Why wouldn’t it?
There will be a great purge of the Heavens and the earth. If not in reality, those who are to be judged harshly will make if feel like the heavens are torn in two and the storm surge is drowning us all. Those who will want to hold onto this reality with everything they’ve got are those whose being on top depends upon their earthly dominance. If we have learned anything from all the wars we have been in over the millennia, no one wants to give up their hold on anything without a fight.
The Evil One will make the enticements of straying from God even more enticing. He will make the life of sin and its contradictions seem like it is only logical, when it is not logical at all. If there is one thing we know about the Devil, it is that he keeps his foot on the gas. He finds those in rebellion and leads them down the false path. That is why we have the Gospel of Woodstock as the moral exemplar of our age.
In the midst of all this subterfuge of reality, we, who believe the body is something to be treasured and treated with sanctity, who believe that truth is important, who believe that there are patterns of life that lead us to stability for our children, stability for our spouses, it can seem like the heavens are being torn in two in this age and any age. We can stick out like little nerdy two shoes amongst all the cool kids.
What is our response to all this discombobulation? Do we run and hide? Remember Y2K when the computers weren’t built to go beyond 1999 and we thought the entire economic system was going to collapse? People were buying properties in gauntlet positions in the mountains, storing up dry goods, and installing life support systems of their own.
We do not believe in that kind of nonsense. We don’t believe in it because Christ is our King. He is our King and we know that when the judgment comes, those who are going to be judge negatively are not going to want to reap what they have sown. We know that our treasure is not in mountain garrison hideaways, not in securing our own needs and future. Our treasure is in heaven. Our treasure is in the way we live our lives in honesty, integrity, purity, kindness, goodness, sharing what we have, regardless of how the world treats us.
Every week, we gather to enter as a community into the Heavenly Kingdom in our worship, in our encounter with Jesus the Christ becoming one with us in the Eucharist. We gather to remind ourselves that there are others who know what it means to deny ourselves and live a life for the One who gave us life, sustains our life, and redeems our life every moment, every day.
Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust, yet the love of the Lord and the Lord himself will stand. When he does, mourning and crying will be no more, pain and dying will be no more and the Lord our God will wipe every tear from our eyes. The bullies will be gone. The jerk bosses will be gone. The manipulative spouses will be gone. The financial privilege of the few will be gone. The living pay check to pay check will be gone. The genocide, the racism, the wars, the famine, the pestilence, the holocausts, all of it will, be, gone.
In its place will be God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as our sun, our moon, our very breath. Innocent bliss and joy will be ours.
We, who celebrate the coming of the Lord, the Advent of the Christ, we who are the people who will bear the mark of the living God on our foreheads, we know the plan. So, when all of this stuff starts to happen, or is happening already, we need to take a powder. We are not to run to the mountains to hide. No, that is not what we who believe do. We do the opposite, says Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: “now when these things take place, look up, raise your heads, for your redemption is near.” Like mama said, “the one who stays calm in the negotiation will come out with the best deal.”
As everyone else is looking toward the baby in the manger, we are reminded of what can happen at any moment. We are reminded of the Christian end game: a new heaven and a new earth without all the garbage that humanity makes for each other and with Jesus coming to make it happen. Make it happen, Jesus! Make it happen! I want there to be the new heaven and new earth, don’t you?
So, keep your heads raised and in the game. Don’t fall for all this worry and fear, enticement and temptation. That is not who we are. We are people of the Most High King, who will come on the clouds to bring our redemption. To that, I say, “Thanks be God and come, Lord Jesus.” Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2018.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian