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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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Your IP: 3.233.217.242
2019-11-16 06:30

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1st Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14–16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2; Luke 21:25–28, 34–36

Rearranging deck chairs?
Watch and pray in anticipation of the Lord’s coming  for us.

On the night of April 15, 1912,  the Titanic hit an iceberg
in the North Atlantic and sank. Over 1,500 people lost their lives in one of the worst sea disasters in history.

A few years ago a magazine recalled the great disaster and asked its readers  this shocking  almost blasphemous question:
“If we’d been on the Titanic when it sank, would we have rearranged the deck chairs?’’

At first we say to ourselves, “What a ridiculous question! No one in his right mind would ignore wailing sirens on a sinking ship and rearrange its deck chairs!

“No one with an ounce of sanity  would ignore the shouts of drowning people and keep rearranging deck chairs!’’

But as we continue to read the magazine, we see the reason for the strange question. And suddenly we ask ourselves, “Are we, perhaps, rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship?

“For example, are we so caught up with material things in life
that we are giving a backseat to spiritual things?
“Are we so busy making a living  that we are forgetting the purpose of life?

“Are we so taken up with life that we are forgetting why God gave us life?’
Strangely enough, the question “Are we rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship?’’ is the very question the Church asks us in the season of Advent.

All three readings in today’s Mass, in one way or another,
invite us to ask ourselves, “Are we rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship?’’

All three readings in today’s Mass invite us to ask ourselves,
“Are we so caught up with this life that we are forgetting
it’s only a preparation for a life to come?’’

Thus, Jesus warns us in today’s gospel:

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”

Rather, Jesus tells us to watch and pray.

Watch and pray for the coming of the Lord, which will signal the end of this life and the start of the next life.
Watch and pray for the coming of the Lord!

This theme is repeated again and again in different ways in the Gospel. Thus, Jesus says in another place:

“Be on watch, be alert,for you do not know when the time will come . . . it might be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or sunrise. . . . What I say to you, then, I say to all:
‘Watch!’ ” Mark 13:33, 35–36

And so Advent invites us to watch and pray for the coming of the Lord.
Let me give you a concrete example of what Jesus has in mind when he says to watch and pray for the coming of the Lord.

It occurred some years ago. A Hollywood actor suddenly became ill.

When his personal physician checked him, the doctor informed the actor bluntly:

“Your situation is desperate. We’ve got to operate within 36 hours if we’re to have any chance to save you.’’

Later the actor said in effect, “I learned more about myself
in those 36 hours than I had in the previous 36 years of my life.

“And what I discovered gave me a joy that I’d never experienced before in my life.

“I discovered that I wasn’t afraid of death. I had made it a habit to pray to Jesus every day of my life. And now when he was minutes away from coming, I experienced the fruit of my praying.

“It was then that I discovered that Jesus and I were not strangers. We were close friends thanks to those daily conversations.’’

Blessed is the man or the woman who can say to the Lord when he comes:

“Welcome, Lord. After all these years of watching and praying in faith, it’s good to see you face-to-face.’’
The Church’s message on this First Sunday of Advent is “Watch and pray!’’ Watch and pray that the Lord may be able to say to us, also, when he comes:

“Welcome, dearest friend. After all these years, it’s, indeed, good to meet you face-to-face.’’

Let’s close with a prayer by an unknown author from the Red Cloud Indian School of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. It puts into prayer form some of the thoughts that are related to the theme of today’s liturgy: watch and pray.

“O Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me! I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.

“Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.

“Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

“Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.

“Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

“I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy—myself.

“Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.

“So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.

“Amen.’’

Series II
1st Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14–16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2;
Luke 21:25–28, 34–36

Missed opportunities
Watch and pray in anticipation of the Lord’s coming.

In November of 1988, the Dallas Morning News ran a front-page story about a house that burned down, killing five people.

What made the story especially tragic was that Sonny  Simpson, the house’s owner, had been planning for two weeks
to install a smoke alarm.

Simpson told reporters that it was something that he kept putting off  because he was too busy with other things.

Now five of his loved ones are dead, and there’s nothing he or anyone else can do to bring them back to life.

That tragic story  hits close to home with all of us.

There are so many things that we want to do, but we keep putting them off  for one reason or another.

There are mothers who want to get to know their daughters better but keep putting it off for some reason or another.

There are fathers who want to get to know their sons better
but keep putting it off for some reason or another.
There are husbands and wives who want to deepen their  relationship with their spouse but keep putting it off for some reason or another.

There’s a human tendency in all of us to put things off.

But a closer look shows  that maybe that’s not the whole story.

A closer look shows that perhaps our problem isn’t that of putting things off. Rather, it’s that of missing opportunities.

During those two weeks when Sonny Simpson was planning
to install a smoke alarm, I’m sure he could have found time to do it. He simply missed the opportunities.

The same is true of us. Our days are full of missed  opportunities to do things we want to do  or ought to do.

Jesus has something to say about all of this  in today’s gospel. Talking about his return at the end of the world,
he says of that all-important moment:

“Be careful . . . or that Day may suddenly catch you
like a trap. . . . Be on watch and pray always.”
Be ready for that all-important moment.

Jesus is warning us about getting so involved with the  ordinary things of life that we forget about the more important things of life. Jesus is warning us about getting so involved in this life that we forget about the next life.

And I ask you, my brothers and sisters, which life is more important: the few years that we spend in this world, or the eternity of yearsthat we will spend in the world to come?

Be careful! Watch! Pray! These are three important instructions.

That’s why Advent is such an important season in the liturgical year.

The word Advent means “coming.’’ The word underscores Advent’s purpose. It’s to make ready for the coming of Jesus.

And the coming we’re to make ready for is not just the liturgical reliving of Jesus’ first coming 2,000 years ago.
It’s also the liturgical reliving of his second coming at the end of time.

The season of Advent is like the ancient Roman god Janus,
for whom the month of January is named.

He is depicted in art as having two faces. One face looks backward into the past; the other looks forward into the future.

The season of Advent is like that. It looks backward into the past to the first coming of Jesus. It also looks forward into the future to his second coming.

And so today we stand at the midpoint between these two great moments in the history of the world.
Our job in Advent, therefore, is twofold.

First, it is to relive Israel’s anticipation of the coming of the Messiah into history.

It’s to prepare for the celebration of Christmas, when we relive the incredible mystery
by which the Son of God took flesh and lived among us.

We rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ. And we rejoice in our own spiritual rebirth that he made possible by his physical birth.

Second, our job in Advent is to anticipate Jesus’ final coming
at the end of time.

It’s to prepare for that incredible moment when Jesus returns in power and majesty to take us with him into the eternal glory of his Father’s heavenly kingdom.

Blessed will you be if you can say, when Jesus comes,
“Welcome, Lord.

After all these years of watching and making ready, it’s good to see you face-to-face.’’

And blessed will you be if Jesus can say to you in return,
“Welcome, dearest friend. After all these years of watching you prepare, it’s indeed good to meet you face-to-face.’’

This is the purpose of Advent. It’s to make ourselves ready.
It’s to remind ourselves not to become so busy with the affairs of this world that we miss the opportunities God gives us to be ready for the next world.

Let’s close with a prayer from the Red Cloud Indian School.
It sums up the spirit of the First Sunday of Advent: “Watch and make ready.’’
“O Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me! I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.

“Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. . . .

“Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.

“Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

“I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy—myself.

“Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.

“So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame. “Amen.’’ Author unknown

Series III
1st Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14–16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2; Luke 21:25–28, 34–36

Be prepared
Advent invites us to inventory how well we are doing so far.

Be careful not to let yourselves  become occupied . . . too much . . . with the worries of this life. . . . Be on watch and pray always.” Luke 21:34–36

Ayoung lady named Sandra was on an early lunch break.
She was seated in a restaurant, making a phone call. An older woman was seated nearby.

Sandra said, “Mr. Bell, please.” When Mr. Bell answered,
Sandra said, “I hear you’re looking for an assistant.”

There was a few seconds’ pause. It ended with Sandra  replying, “Oh! You say you hired an assistant two weeks ago?
And you’re very pleased with her?”

Sandra said, “Thank you!” and hung up.

The older woman seated nearby said, “Honey, I couldn’t help but overhear  your conversation with Mr. Bell. I’m so sorry you didn’t get the job. Something else will turn up soon.”


Sandra replied cheerfully, “Thank you, but it’s okay! You see,
Mr. Bell hired me two weeks ago as his assistant, and I was wondering  what he thought of my work so far.”

That charming episode fits in well with the season of Advent,
which we begin today.

One of the purposes of Advent is to be a time of inquiry
and checking up on our lives.

It’s a time for reminding ourselves that we are going to be held accountable to God for the life we are living.

It’s a time for asking ourselves  what God might think
of our work on earth so far.

This brings us to a question  that the Church sets before us
on this First Sunday of Advent.

How prepared would we be to give our accounting to God
if we were to die this very day?

Someone has observed that the most dangerous day of our lives comes when we learn the meaning  of the word tomorrow.

For on that day
we discover that we can put things off.
We discover that we can postpone things.
We discover that we can procrastinate.

And, of course, that frequently leads to a lot of trouble.

There’s a delightful story  that has been around for years.

It’s about an elderly woman  who used to straighten up the house each night just before going to bed.

One night her husband said to her:

“Honey, you’ve had a big day and you’re very tired tonight.
Why don’t you wait until morning? There’ll be plenty of time
to straighten up things then.”

His wife replied:

“My dear, did it ever occur to you that this may be the night
when Jesus comes for one of us? Whether it is for me or for you,
I don’t want him to enter a messy house.”

The elderly woman’s point  is in keeping with the spirit
of this First Sunday of Advent. Her point is simply this: We should always be prepared for the coming of Jesus.

Recently I ran across a humorous poem by an unknown author. It reads:

If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two,

If he came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do.

Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored guest,


And all the food you’d serve him would be the very best.

But when you saw him coming, I wonder what you’d do.

Would you rush right to the door to let him in, Or would you first hide a magazine or two and put the Bible and a crucifix
where they had been?

And I wonder if the Savior spent a day or two with you,

Would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?

Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you’d planned to go?

Or would you, maybe, change your plans for a day or so?

Would you be glad to have him stay forever on and on?

Or would you sigh with great relief when at last he had gone?

It might be interesting to know the things that you would do,

If Jesus came in person to spend some time with you.

That poem may not win a prize from a literary point of view. But when it comes to what Advent is all about, it is right on target.

Let me close with this thought by the 20th-century  dramatist and journalist Albert Camus.

It relates the point of the poem to Advent and to the second coming of Jesus.

I shall tell you a secret, my friend.

Do not wait for the last judgment; it is taking place every day.