In the old television series The Twilight Zone, there is an episode called “The Chaser” in which a man, desperate to win the affection of a woman who doesn’t love him, slips her a love potion. The potion works: she lavishes him with affection, never quarrels, and never takes offense no matter how he treats her. He then becomes annoyed with her because her “love” isn’t really love at all, since it isn’t freely given. The potion has taken away her free will.
God, who is love, made all of us, out of love, for love. He made Adam and Eve so that they might love Him in return and enjoy supernatural beatitude with Him, forever, in Heaven. He gave them free will, and they spurned His love when they committed the Original Sin. They lost sanctifying grace. Concupiscence, death and suffering entered the world. They faced the prospect of eternal separation from God for themselves and all their progeny.
After Adam and Eve sinned, God immediately promised a second chance, a Redeemer. He said “I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head…” (Genesis 3:15) Then the long anticipation of the Redeemer began. The prophet Micah (5:1-2) said “Out of thee (Bethlehem) shall come forth … the one who is to be the ruler of Israel, whose origin is from of old…” Isaiah (30:20) said “…the Lord shall come to save the nations.” And again, in chapter 40, he says “A voice cries out in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the desert a highway, for our God! … Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed… Fear not to cry out and say… Here is your God!”
John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness, preaching repentance, penance, prayer, self-denial and amendment of life as the means of preparing for Christ’s coming. He revealed that the Redeemer had come: “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world… he is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34) Advent is the time when we should meditate on the Incarnation and prepare ourselves by sincere repentance, penance, prayer, self-denial and amendment of life in anticipation of Jesus’ coming at Christmas, and His Second Coming at the Last Judgment.
We also imitate John the Baptist by speaking the truth. John the Baptist spoke the truth about marriage to Herod: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mark 6:18) For this he was hated and killed. Likewise, we shouldn’t shrink from charitably speaking the truth--- whether about Jesus, or marriage, or abortion, or homosexual acts, our differences with Islam, or the existence of objective Truth and Divine Judgment--- even if it arouses the enmity of the hearer, and could result in persecution and martyrdom. For this, prayer, penance, self-denial and acts of charity are necessary “spiritual exercises.”
Then, at Christmas, and the eleven days thereafter, we should rejoice: Christ Jesus our Lord, God the Son, became man, who would, by His teachings and sufferings and death, open the gates of Heaven for all who would hear His Word and follow it.
We volunteers hope that, by bringing the Word to you through our programming, you are inspired to bring “tidings of comfort and joy” to all you meet. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers at St. Michael Broadcasting: those who film, edit, post events on 16.1, screen programs, set the schedule, schedule the programs, manage the computers, manage the website and facebook page, pay the bills, send out thank-you notes, provide accounting services, and those who help with the monthly mailings. And on behalf of the volunteers, thank you, all our viewers and contributors, who make this possible.
Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas! Venite adoremus!