December 17, 2011

Prepare the way...

Yesterday we had our second Advent Prayer service during each of the Theology mods.  The theme of the prayer service came from the first reading at last Sunday's Mass - Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11 which famously proclaims:

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I began by showing the video below which shows how one person can indeed bring glad tidings to the poor and heal the brokenhearted.  Be sure to spend some time watching it - it's about 8 minutes and it will move you greatly.  Every student yesterday was entranced watching it, they didn't make a peep.

After an opening song, prayer, and the full reading from Isaiah, I offered the following reflection:

In the most recent edition of the Pioneer, the school newspaper, Kasie Bourque quoted something she read online:
First I was dying to finish high school and start college.  And then I was dying to finish college and start working.  Then I was dying to marry and have children.  And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back to work.  But then I was dying to retire.  And now I am dying...and suddenly I realized, I forgot to live...”
There’s a lot of truth to that.  We always feel like we are waiting for the next big thing, the next stage in life.  What’s next we ask?  When will I get out of here?  When can I move on?  We never live in the moment.
The people of Jesus’ time had been waiting for the next big thing for a long, long, long time.  For thousands of years they and their ancestors had been waiting for a savior, someone to free them from foreign powers and to restore them to the greatness God promised them.  They were always poor, enslaved, beaten down.
That is why Isaiah, who lived 700 years before Jesus, speaks longingly of one who is to come who will:
  • Bring glad tidings to the poor
  • Heal the brokenhearted
  • Proclaim freedom to prisoners
That savior did come, in the form of a child, 2,000 years ago.  His coming was proclaimed by many, including John the Baptist who was the child spoken about in today’s prayer.  Jesus Christ spent 33 years on this Earth and ascended back to heaven.  He will come again, we believe, to judge us all at a time we do not know.  In the meantime, it is up to us to carry on the saving work He began.  We - you and I - must bring glad tidings to the poor, we must heal the brokenhearted, we must proclaim freedom to those who don’t have it.  Our life’s work must be to be like the man we saw in the video at the beginning of our prayer service.  
And you don’t have to wait until you’re old or grown up to do all this.  I hope you understand the power you have.  Did you see the toys on that stage yesterday?  Have you seen the books in Campus Ministry?  Have you spoken with the people who have taken part in 25 Days of Service?  You are already transforming the world little by little.  You are bringing Jesus Christ into this world and into your hearts.  Jesus is not here physically, you are.  It is your job to carry on His mission.
The people of Israel had to wait for Jesus, we don’t.  Jesus already came...and now people are waiting for you.  
So what are you waiting for?

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