Fr. Terry’s Sharing…
Having had the blessing of coming from a rich, mixed faith background, I have always experienced Advent and Christmas as seasons that stress, celebrate, and honor that which unites. I have studied extensively how music, words, and melody were used to help people learn about God. This was especially important to those who were illiterate. During the Advent Season, one of the most important hymns used in our worship is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. This song was written by an Anglican Priest by the name of John Mason Neale. Benedictine Monks brought the hymn to our Catholic Church and Worship.
Titles were very important because it describes who and what we long for that the world cannot give. These are known as Messianic titles from Scriptures that prophesied and foreshadowed Jesus’ coming. For the people of Jesus’ day, it was to foreshadow his coming into the world at what we know as Christmas. However, for us today, it is to remind us of His second coming, which in our prayers and worship we express. In these seven verses, we realize that through Jesus’ first coming, he was going to be the ransom paid to set Israel and the nations free. So in a sense, each verse is helping us place our eyes on Jesus’ return by anticipating, yearning, hoping, and aching for His second coming.
Ephesians tells us that the Christian life oscillates between these two poles: the overflowing joy of the “already” redeemed and the tearful yearning of the “not yet” redeemed.
Let’s use this Advent Season to celebrate the things that unify us in our Christian Faith. Let this Advent Season be a celebration of our being Good Neighbors who support each other in charity, understanding, and a profound sense of peace. Let us also, during this Advent Season, be examples of faith, hope, and love to those who have no faith or relationship with God. May they see in our examples, the transforming power of love that Jesus mentored for us. And in this Advent Season, may we remember in action and prayers those who are homeless, poor, and struggling. Joseph (our patron saint of our Diocese) and Mary (our patron saint of our country) experienced those things when they fled to Egypt to save the life of the baby Jesus. May our words and actions be reflective of their trust in the will of God and their living of God’s love.