Advent Day 1 2014 ~ Stay on the Watch! Be prepared!

Dear Friends,
Sunday, November 30th begins the Advent season for the liturgical Christian churches.  Funny enough, we begin at the end ~ thinking about THE END ~ the end of the world.  The early Christians believed Jesus was coming “soon and very soon.” The early generation of Christians thought the end would come soon.  Jerusalem fell in 70 CE but Jesus didn’t come.

The first reading from Isaiah is a wonderful piece of prose . . .

  You have delivered your face from us  and delivered us up to our guilt.

  Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work or your hands.  (Is. (64 6-7.)

(You can find the entire passage and the other Mass readings by clicking the  link at the bottom of the page.)

 Jesus  admonishes us in today’s gospel (Mk 13:33-37) . . .

“Be watchful! Stay alert!  You do not know when the time will come.  

What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

Jesus himself does not know the day nor the hour, only the Father. Be wary of those who claim that the do! We live in the shadow of eternity.  Day by day, we turn to our work and tend to the needs of our family, In time, then, we will be prepared when the Lord decides to take us to himself.  As I learned in third grade when I memorized the catechism question, Why did God make me?  The answer was and is so simple, “to know, love him and serve him in this world and to be happy with in the next.”

Yes, we should be  . . .
prepared / watchful / alert / aware / awake
knowing what’s happening
. . .  but so many of us are asleep, Lord.
We tend to not recognize the signs of the times.
We often dull our senses / stay in our own little worlds,
choosing not to care.

We’re complacent, Lord.
Many don’t want to be bothered pondering or praying about the real issues.
We’re into Cyber Monday bargains and wowed by the latest iphone.

But deep down we are fearful and anxious, caused by threats
. . . of losing our job / having a lump in our breast /
losing health insurance because we lost our job.

Global warming / Ferguson /
corruption on Wall Street and government
the ebola epidemic / ISIS / cyber war.

“Stand erect,” the Gospel says.

Face your fears with courage.
Be strong!
Don’t fear the terror of the night (Psalm 91.)
That’s what Advent faith is all about . . .
Being vigilant.  Being prepared for anything life throws at us.
Standing proudly humble or humbly proud ~ no matter what.

That’s the kind of faith in life ~ in You, my God, that I seek.
I want it. I ask you for it.
Today I consent to it.
Amen.  So be it!

+ + + + +
There will  be fresh blog posts  (God willin’ n’ the creek don’t rise) most every day of Advent till Christmas.

Why not make this Christmas season a special one for you ~ a meaningful one?

Now before you go, here’s a song to get you in an Advent mood from Godspell. Click here – enter full screen and turn up your speakers.  And as Tiny Tim would say, God bless you, everyone.  But that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves.

(Here are today’s Mass Click here.)

With love,
Have a wonderful Advent!
Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Share this:

How Good it is to give Thanks! (Thanksgiving Day 2014)

thanksgiving_cornucopia20141120When I was in AA many a year ago, we were taught a very simple form of prayer ~ to say “please” in the morning and “thank you” at night.  What could be simpler and more heartfelt? Thanks is on my lips and in my heart whenever I can accomplish something that I need to do ~ usually after I’ve said “Please help me do this, Lord.”  And that little conversation ‘ll take place quite often.

So, for me, every day is a thanksgiving day!  But I share here some of the things I’m grateful for this year; it’s quite a bit different from last year.   This past several months, I’ve been struggling financially. For the first time in a very long time I didn’t have food in my refrigerator and I couldn’t pay my mortgage.  But I wasn’t thinking of myself. I was thinking of so many others who were so much worse off than I was!

I knew this wouldn’t last. And it hasn’t.  My faith is strong. And I remembered again and again what Julian of Norwich used to say, “All shall be and all manner of things shall be well.”  So that’s one thing for which I’m thankful.

But I’m also strongly thinking about my friends this year ~ a few of whom I will name here.  Joan has been my friend since I was first ordained in 1969.  She lives in Melbourne, Florida, a great-grandmother and a confidante of mine, always welcome in her home.

Betsy and John live in Sebastian, Florida. They’re in their nineties and still wear denim and love to laugh.  They are still sweethearts, except that John is disappearing into himself with Alzheimer’s.  I visit them whenever I drive up I-95.

Father Tim Daly is pastor of St. Paul’s in Daytona Beach and looks in on me once in a while and makes sure I’m ok.

Father Jim Fetcher, pastor of St. Sebastian Church here in Ft. Lauderdale has been a wonderful compassionate friend as well with a listening ear.

And closer to home, folks that my dog Shoney and I visit most every evening are my friends Lore and Gilberto who welcome us and treat us as family.

There are others, of course.  I’m thinking of them right now: Gene and Marilyn / Betsey and Matthew  / Tom and Nancy / Jim and Jeffrey / John and Sarah / Dan and Lee / George and Anne / Tony and Susan / Chris and Bill, / Adrian and Leanor /Fathers Jim D. and DonFather Fred in the Dominican Republic.

And, of course, all of you, my dear readers.

And finally, the last item on my gratitude list this year is my priesthood. I celebrated my 45th anniversary this year. And I had the opportunity to celebrate with my classmates at my two seminaries at Theological College in Washington, D.C and at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.

So, I hope you’ll make your own gratitude list.  And when you sit down for dinner on Thursday, why not take a moment to ask folks to first have a moment of silence to think of something that they’re especially thankful for this year.  And then ask each of them if they’d like to share it.  (The moment to think is important! Don’t skip it or else everybody will repeat what the last one said.)

” Rejoice always,

             Pray without ceasing.

 In all circumstances give thanks,

            for this is God’s will  for you in Christ Jesus.”

  I Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Now, before you go, here’s a beautiful slideshow with great music simply entitled “Thank You, God.” Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.   

I will publish the blog for the First Sunday of Advent on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Be sure to look for it!

Thank YOU, my beloved readers.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer