Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent

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My dear Friends:


Would you believe that Christmas Day is just days away! Rejoice! Today, we celebrate the 4th Sunday ofAdvent. We light the last Advent candle, the Angel Candle, the symbol of PEACE.


In today’s Gospel, the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces that she is going to be the God-Bearer (Theotokos/Θεοτόκος), to humankind. Mary’s ‘yes’ unfolds our journey of salvation in the birth ofour Saviour, the Wonder Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace! On Christmas Day, we shall light the centre Candle, the symbol of Christ, the Light of the World! Wow... what amazing symbols! Wow...What amazing challenges for us to make these symbols realities.


In the Old Testament (often referred to as the Hebrew/Shared Scriptures) there are two amazing words, pulsating with a God-filled energy, challenging us to transform ourselves and transform our world: Tikkun Olam (תיקון עולם) ‘Repair the World’! Tikkun Olam also directs us to Repair Ourselves! Before we can repair, heal and transform the world, we have to begin with the repair, healing and transformation of SELF! This is the inner, the interior, spiritual journey upon which each one of us has to embark. No one can make this journey for us. They can walk with us, but not for us. It is the journey in which we become the creations God created us to be.


In the midst of COVID19, a symbol of HOPE has indeed become a reality! Think about it! By drawing on the global reservoir of scientific expertise, for the first time in Human History, a vaccine against a deadly pandemic has been developed in months instead of years. This is a new facet to Tikkun Olam/Repair the World!


Now...just think what could be achieved if ALL Lovers of God were to do the same thing! If ALL Lovers of God were to draw on the global reservoir of God’s Love! If we were to make REAL those religious symbols of Love, Hope, Peace, and Justice (Hassed/gentle-Mercy) we would have a global reservoir of ‘vaccines’ against the diseases of injustice, oppression, poverty and war!


But...like that hymn, Let There be Peace on Earth...and Let it Begin with Me’! Our own ‘hearts’ are like reservoirs, and our words and actions are like streams which flow from them. What do these streams say about that health of our interior reservoirs? Think of the last conversations we had...perhaps over a cup of coffee or a social drink...were my words the balm of gentle healing? Were they the hessed of Gentle Mercy? Did they pierce the darkness of someone imprisoned in smouldering anger and pain? Did they shine for them like beacons of HOPE in the dawn of a new spiritual awareness?


These are the ‘spiritual vaccines’ contained in our words and actions (Hessed). They flow from the heart of the Professional Lover of God. They embrace ‘the other’ who asks them, and tells them, as Rumi did: Do you know what you are? You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter. You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. This universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you are already that.


Martin Luther King, Jn., once said that we have guided missiles and misguided men. If we want to repair this world for God; if we want to develop those ‘spiritual vaccines’ against the diseases of war, poverty and oppression; if we want to change this world for God; then, we have to start with our own interior journey of healing, growth and change.


In this last week of Advent, let us ask the Lord to illumine, and open, our awareness to the great things we can do in His name. When, like Mary, we respond to God’s Messenger: “Let it be done to me...” and become the God-Bearers to the Prince of Peace, and become Sacred Repairers of his creation.


Remember me as loving you,


Fr. Antony