In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
(Gospel reading from Saint John (1:1-2) on Christmas Morning)
Beloved, without Advent there is no reality of Christ-Mass. Christmas is celebrated only because the LAMB of GOD was slaughtered on Good Friday after the Passover which commemorates how the Hebrew people escaped the horrible conditions of slavery in Egypt four hundred years after they were in harmony with the Pharaoh and the Egyptian people.
Moses was instructed by God to tell the people that if they wished to survive the death of their first born and enter into freedom (in the perilous desert), they first had to slaughter a lamb and smear the blood on their front doorposts the night of the seventh moon of the Jewish New Year (Yom Kippur). Remember, Jews must drain the blood of animals before eating them. Blood was sacred not only for humans, but animals as well.
The “blood” line of Jesus can be traced all the way back to Adam and Eve. In her book, Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!, Susi Pittman is clear and concise in showing the fall and the ultimate Restoration of the soul of human beings. Our hope is to be in Heaven with our Creator and Beloved for all eternity. Susi raises the question of whether animals are in Heaven also. Advent is Latin for “to come”. Advent is a time for us to hope for the coming of Heaven. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is coming for you, me, and all of His Creation. Susi shares her love of her husband, pets, wild animals and parts of our environment that have died. Her hope is in what the Sacred Scriptures exude of love, joy, peace and hope in Heaven.
In the Song of Songs, chapter 2, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet cries out with the words of Our Beloved coming for us. Jesus is in love with us and all creation. Allow ourselves to cry out this most beautiful Canticle about how Jesus’ love is stronger than death. Yes! Yes! Advent is about falling in love with our Beloved, Jesus. Christmas is about the formal engagement to our Beloved, Jesus. January 10, 2010 is the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus in which is the last day of Christmas and the first day of Ordinary Time leading up to the Passover and the Wedding Feast of Easter. It is beyond our comprehension that we will be married to God forever.
According to Saint Luke, “After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Let us hope like Noah waiting for the dove to return with an olive branch as a sign that the flood waters have receded. Isaac asked his father, “Father, here is the wood on my back, and you carry the fire and knife. Where is the sacrifice?” Abraham, with tears hidden in his soul, simply said, “My son, God will provide.” God is coming for us as Abraham holds the knife he is about to plunge into his son whom he loves more than himself. “Abraham! Abraham! Don’t kill your beloved son. I know you love me. I will provide for you everything I have. I will promise you my Son, the Lamb. As a sign of this promise, see the ram caught in the bushes. One day, My Son will come to the earth and be caught with a crown of thorns.”
Our hope is that God will fulfill His promise. But that promise means that the Blood of the Lamb will be smeared on our doorposts, our lips. And we will eat the flesh of God in the form of a gentle lamb who says, “Father! I have the wood of the cross on my shoulders and back. The fire of sin is in your beloved people. And the sword of the evil one is in their hands. I have fallen in love with these people even though they insist on slaughtering me and pasting my body on a bloody cross like the Passover almost 2000 years ago. Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing. My birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection is your one and only Christmas Gift for them. I love them, my chosen spouse, soul mate, and Beloved for all eternity. I can hardly wait to present my beloved people to you. I will even give them my most Blessed Mother Mary to them so that my mother will be their mother and we will be united as ONE for all eternity.”
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid:
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
This Advent let us hope for peace. Let us hope that the animals in the preceding passage from the prophet Isaiah will indeed be replaced with people of the world. Then sinners shall be a guest of The Lamb. Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and Christian will browse together. Republicans and Democrats shall browse together with a little child to guide them. The people of Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and the World, The South and The North, China and Russia, Cuba and the United States, Israel and Palestine, North and South Korea, shall all be neighbors. How would you place the Sunni and Shiites in this passage? Where would you put the insurrectionists and religious extremists? And where would you place yourself and your most terrifying enemy?
When we forgive those who have hurt and abused us, then the Beloved will come searching for His Beloved, YOU and ME!
Hark! my lover-here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”
Song of Songs 2:8-14
O Holy Night must come! May you find your Beloved, The Best Gift Ever, this Christmas. I pray that you nurture the lamb born among wolves. May we all hope to be the guest of the Lamb. Joy to the World! The Beloved is coming!
Love, joy, peace and hope,
Father Ron Moses +