Pastor’s Column

Fourth Advent Sunday 2013

My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,

We are preparing for the Solemnity celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ for us as God has never forgotten his promise throughout the  history of mankind.  Because of us – God’s creatures and the fall of our original sin, God continues blessing us, pouring grace upon us.  The Advent Season is about God’s people who he intended to save all.  I wish to share with you some significant people in the biblical time playing a key role in the mystery of Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah and Jeremiah – All the prophets of salvation history are part of the Advent story, but none are more prominent than the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.  Their poetic words dominate the Hebrew Scriptures throughout the Advent season.  With both unsettling challenge and comforting hope, they proclaimed the message of peace and justice that heralds the coming of the Prince of Peace and the Son of Justice.

John the Baptist – We all know of people who are said to “need no introduction,” but Jesus is not one of those people.  John the Baptist represents the central role of the forerunner in God’s plan of salvation.  He is the opposite of the vanity and self-promotion that is so common in our day.  He knows his role as a voice crying in the wilderness and embraces it humbly by saying: the one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.

Elizabeth – is the cousin of our Blessed Virgin Mary and the mother of John the Baptist.  It is her pregnancy that Gabriel cites to Mary as a reassuring sign of God’s miraculous power for nothing will be impossible with God.  Mary after saying “YES” to the Lord through the Angel Gabriel had visited her and was greeted by Elizabeth that “blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

The Angel Gabriel – is a manifestation of the mystical experience of calling.  We do not hear the word “vocation” so much anymore because we have lately given ascendency to popular cultural wisdom of individualism and following oneself.  Yet, angels suggest that there is no discrepancy between God’s will and human aspiration.  Gabriel speaks the Advent truth that as we choose our paths, God guides those who listen to the Lord, He is with you and do not be afraid.

Saint Joseph – is the quiet and righteous man of the Nativity story.  References to him in the Infancy Narratives are few. Like backstage crew member of a Broadway musical, Saint Joseph works behind the scenes to support the mysterious reality of our Blessed Virgin’s pregnancy, to get her on central stage in Bethlehem, and to protect the Holy Family from harm.  Saint Joseph becomes the foster father of Jesus and teaches him the carpenter’s trade.

Blessed Virgin Mary – more than any other human, the Blessed Mother is the vehicle by which God enters the world.  Mary stands in contrast to the “my way or high way” attitude of modern times.  Instead, she realizes that without her willingness to discern and follow God’s will, there may be no highway for God at all.  Mary is the model of the fruitful listening.  She listened so intently to the word of God that it formed a living person within her “the Word made flesh.

And we are also the people of Advent.  We are waiting for the Second coming of Christ but in the meantime we are responsible to proclaim God’s good news.  After the consecration at Mass the presider say; “The Mystery of Faith” then the congregation responds confidently; “we proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.”  Yes we are professing the resurrected Christ until he comes again.  We are the Advent people who continue to bring forth the Good News to the world until Christ comes again.

Let us prepare ourselves for the Coming Christ – in the meantime, let us receive the Body and the Blood of Christ, food for our eternal life.

Rev. Joseph-Quoc Vuong