Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent, 2011: Joy, Peace, Love, and a Dog Named Rollo

Readings for November 27, 2011, First Sunday of Advent 2011:

First Sunday in Advent 2011

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
November 27, 2011

Deacon Dick Folger writes what he calls "Sermon Starters" in a publication that I get, that could be called 'watchful and alert.'

He writes:
"From Advent darkness will come a great light, just as a glorious dawn paints the morning sky. In today's Gospel Mark reminds us to be vigilant. We never know when we will be called to judgment.

"Perhaps we need to be like a guard dog always alert for intruders, even when sleeping. One exception was Rollo, a big bloodhound. Like a good guard dog, he always napped at the entrance of his owner's little country store. A stranger noticed a sign at the store entrance, warning, 'Danger! Beware of dog.' Looking down at the snoring Rollo, he asked the owner, 'Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?'

" 'Yep, that's him.'

"The stranger was amused. 'He certainly doesn't look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world did you post that sing?'
'Because, the owner explained, before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him."
Now maybe Rollo wasn't the best watch dog, but he sure put himself in position of guardian. Sometimes we have to be like Rollo and be tripped over to come to attention.

This first Sunday of the new Church year gives us all kinds of reasons to come to attention. Keeping in mind the last sentence of our Gospel today.
"May He not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!' "
Mark's Gospel is a reminder that Christ is always seeking to enter our world and our lives with joy, peace, and love.

Fr. Thomas Merton has expressed his own experience of God this way.
"Whether you understand or not, God loves you, is present to you, lives in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and light which are like nothing you ever found in books or sermons.... If you dare to penetrate you own silence.... and risk the sharing of that silence with the lonely other who seeks God through and with you, then you will recover the light and the capacity to understand what is beyond words. It is the intimate union of God's Spirit and your own intimate self, so that you and God are, in all truth, one."
This takes place in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that is why the Church has worked so hard to get the new translation right. It appears that until now we have were praying in prose while now with the new translation we are praying in poetry. Not that there was anything wrong using prose but poetry has a beauty to it that is most respectful of God to whom we address our prayer and worship.

Our Bishop reminded us in the Visitor this week:
"The celebration of Mass, as the action of Christ and of the People of God, arrayed hierarchically, is the center of the whole of Christian life for the Church both universal and local, as well as for each of the faithful individually."
Yes, I know, with all the preparation that has been going on we will not really be able to claim this new liturgy until we have used it. But the best of what I see is that we will have to pay attention, Father and us, too, as every Word is important. Finally we will come to the realization the most important activity of the day is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.
More reflections:Vaguely-related posts:


Brigid said...

Is that extra 'be' supposed to be there? "that could be called be 'watchful and alert.'"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Oops. Delayed stutter??

Found and fixed.

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