Francis of Assisi
556 South Jersey Street;
Denver, CO 80224
National Catholic Church (PNCC)
St. Francis of Assisi Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) @2008
"Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
This Sunday on the PNCC calendar is the celebration of the humble shepherds.
In our Lords time shepherds were among the lowliest in society.
It was significant that God’s angels were sent to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus.
From the very beginning it was made clear Jesus had come to serve the poor and the lowly, to bring salvation to sinners.
I believe on this particular Sunday it is most appropriate to speak about God’s Christmas message not only as he brought it to the shepherds but also my personal thoughts and feelings.
For over 2000 years GOD'S message hasn’t changed.
It’s clearly laid out in the lessons we read every week.
Whether it's ordinary time, Lent, Holy Week or Advent -
the message is clearly there for us.
Whenever we pick up our Bible God’s message is there.
However, we get caught up in the celebration of Jesus’ birth and loose site of his mission.
The early Christians of the first three centuries didn't have this problem.
They didn’t know exactly when Jesus was born so they weren’t distracted by celebrating his birthday.
They celebrated his birthday everyday.
They celebrated his birth, his life and his death everyday.
Their celebration preparation was focused on preparing to meet Jesus Christ face to face.
To them, the important matter was not on what day Jesus was born, but that he was born
and the reason why he was born.
The early Christians saw the birth of Jesus in its proper context,
as the beginning of the redemptive mystery of the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of GOD.
Gradually emphasis shifted to the birth of Christ as the beginning of God's love for mankind manifested in the incarnate Son.
To further acknowledge and emphasis this gift of divine love,
they began to give gifts to each other.
The gifts were symbols of God’s constant love in their lives that was to abide with them throughout the year.
And we know too well what that beautiful tradition has evolved into.
Which brings us to what we’re focused on today, is it the birth event or the mission?
We know very well of Jesus’ birth, the events of his life, his death and the purpose of them.
We also know he has promised to be with us always.
Not just collectively but individually.
Jesus is present among us right now just as he promised.
But the question is, are you aware of his presence?
Do you feel his presence?
Is his presence making any difference in your daily lives?
Remember, Jesus comes to you only in proportion to your desire for him.
Only in proportion to your desire for his will in your lives.
You mustn’t lose sight of this fact.
Recognizing and acknowledging the need for Jesus in your lives is to me what Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter are really all about.
It’s not about preparing for the party.
It’s not about exchanging gifts and overeating.
The Advent readings have been chosen by the Church to prepare us for Jesus' coming.
We’re reminded each year during advent by John the Baptist and his message of repentance.
"Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his path straight".
You’ve heard me say it before and you’ll hear me say it again and again.
Do not let yourselves be distracted from this message.
You must stay focused on Jesus Christ and the purpose of his mission.
You must stay focused on keeping Jesus Christ present in your daily lives.
You must stay focused on being prepared for his second coming.
Each year GOD calls to us to open our lives and hearts to him.
He calls us to seek and follow his plea to allow his Son to become flesh in us and in our lives.
God’s desire is for us to have our lives and hearts open to the coming of Jesus every minute of everyday
Prepare the way of the Lord in your lives every day.
Prepare the way for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep the image of our Holy Mother Mary in your heart and mind.
She prepared her whole life for the coming of the messiah.
You must do the same.
When the angel of the Lord came to Mary she was startled and somewhat perplexed.
Even so, she didn’t falter.
She didn’t falter because she was prepared.
She had prepared for this day every day of her life
When Jesus came into her life, into her very being,
she was prepared.
Mary was prepared and joyfully submitted to the will of GOD.
And so must we!
We must take to heart the lessons of this Christmas season today.
We must take to heart the words of John the Baptist and the example of our Mother Mary.
We must constantly ask ourselves:
Am I ready? Jesus is coming, am I ready?
On the day you come face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ and surely that day will come,
will you be prepared?
Accept, embrace and hold the message of the angels to the shepherds
"Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.Commit yourselves to the path Jesus has provided today.Prepare yourselves as our Holy Mother Mary did so that when called you too can respond,"BEHOLD I AM THE SERVANT OF THE LORD:MAY IT BE DONE TO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD."