What is Your Gift from God?

12-08-2019Weekly Reflection

What does it mean to be worthy? There are a few different ways to approach this question. Today’s Gospel highlights two: the way of the Pharisees and the way of John the Baptist. Our faith values good works and discipleship. Perhaps, then, we “earn” our worth by adhering to the right doctrines and following the right pious practice. The Pharisees thought they were worthy. Due to their religious pedigree and proper procedures, they were self-satisfied. John the Baptist’s words to them are strong. “Do not resume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’” Of course, Jesus (and John) don’t omit the responsibility for moral behavior. John gives the Pharisees quite a strong warning in that regard. “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance … every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

It’s a question of attitude. Of disposition. It’s a matter of the heart. If anyone would be worthy in this scenario, it’s John the Baptist. Jesus himself will name him the greatest of prophets and a great man. John, however, recognizes his own lowly place in the grand scheme of things. “The one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” The Pharisees take pride in being “better” than others. John embraces humility in Christ being “better” than him. We don’t self-generate our own worthiness. We receive it as a gift from God.

In a few short weeks, we’ll celebrate the birth of Christ. Bishop Ven. Fulton Sheen wrote about the Nativity in his “Life of Christ”: “Because [Jesus] was born in a cave, all who wish to see Him must stoop. To stoop is the mark of humility. The proud refuse to stoop and, therefore, they miss divinity.” God invites us to prepare our hearts this Advent. When you consider your own life, where are you looking for your worth? This Christmas, are you prepared to stoop?

Convertirse es dar Fruto

Vamos caminando poco a poco rumbo a la Navidad; el Adviento abre un camino nuevo dando oportunidad a una conversión sincera girando el corazón hacia Dios. El protagonista de este domingo y el que viene es Juan Bautista. Con su mensaje, exhorta a la sociedad de hoy a reencontrar el camino y esperar con esperanza cristiana, que es a la vez jubilosa pero exigente en el cambio radical de acciones que destruyen el espíritu de esta temporada. Muchas compras y prisas sin sentido hacen olvidar lo importante del mensaje: “Una voz clama en el desierto: Preparen el camino del Señor, enderecen sus senderos.” Significa abrir el corazón a la luz del mensaje. Un corazón sencillo que perdona y experimenta la conversión en pequeños detalles como: una palabra de amor a su familia, aceptar a la persona que no cae bien, o simplemente quitar la cara aburrida de siempre.

“Ya el hacha está puesta a la raíz de los árboles, y todo árbol que no de fruto, será cortado y arrojado al fuego.” Mas claro el mensaje no puede estar. La presencia salvadora se presenta en este Adviento invitando a hacer obras buenas, preparando y arreglando lo que esta chueco o, como se dice, dejar de hacer tranzas. El Adviento implica ser valientes para hacer el bien. ¿Qué estás dispuesto a cambiar? ¿Qué se debe de enderezar? Recuerda, Isaías lo describe así: “Habitará el lobo con el cordero, la pantera se echará con el cabrito, el novillo y el león pacerán juntos y un muchachito los apacentará.” El llamado sigue, ¿que respondes?

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