Reflections on the Readings
Second Sunday of Advent - December 9, 2012 - Year C
The Year of Faith
Love Will Make A Way
I met a young man on the walking trail. He hopes to be ready for a big bike marathon by the end of next summer.
"I'm working on my cardio!"
That explained why he was riding up the hill in the lower gears of his bicycle.
He asked how long the track was. After I said it takes about three rounds to make a mile, he shared with some satisfaction that he had gone six miles. I was working on one mile. But he had been there longer.
In our brief conversation he shared that he was preparing to do a 24 hour bike marathon in California to benefit troubled teens. That explained the cross that dangled from his sweaty neck.
That young man is doing something to fill up the valley in somebody's life. He's wants to bring down the towering mountains of addiction and abandonment that so many young people are experiencing. Because of his efforts some troubled young man and young lady will have a straighter path and less rough spots in their life.
Love makes a way.
I remember a pastoral experience. It was a desperate moment in my parishioner's life. With genuine assurance I said, "At the foot of the cross, we all stand on level ground." No one is a big 'I' or little 'You' at that holy mount. Every level of humankind is brought to a sobering erasing of all that divides us at the Old Rugged Cross. For everyone is united by the same spiritual predicament at the nailed feet of Jesus. What is it we have in common? Sin. But grace that is greater than our sin washes over us leaving in its wake forgiveness that surpasses understanding. Where there seems to be no way to true joy, love makes a way.
In the second reading, St. Paul addresses the Philippians with 'the affection of Christ.' It is this same great apostle who gave us the hymn of love in First Corinthians chapter 13. This man of God is immersed in that love because he is full of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God pours into our hearts the Love that comes from the undiluted and infinite fount of every blessing - the inner life of the Blessed Holy Trinity. God is not willing that any should perish; love never gives up.
It is this great affection of Christ for us that enables us to see each other as members together in the family of God. No one is meant to be a Christian by himself/herself. We need each other. We cannot grow into who we are meant to be in Christ without being brothers and sisters in Christ. In the community of the Church we bear each other's burdens. If one rejoices, we all share in that joy. When someone is in the grip of grief, we do not allow that brother or sister to bear their cross alone. That's why belonging to the community of faith is indispensable. The affection of Christ compels us to hold each other in our hearts. Love does not know another way.
Each Sunday we come to the same table and each of us receive the same body and blood of Christ. The rich come. The not so rich come. And those who have never been rich nor will ever be rich come. All are welcome at this holy meal. And we receive the tangible reality of Christ's affection for us. He gives us himself. No one gets more of Jesus and no one gets less of Jesus. Together in the unity of the Holy Spirit we partake of the same Jesus. As Saint Paul says, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." God's love makes us one.
The splendor of Love! May we receive it and claim it for the treasure it is. And when we leave this Holy Place, let us be that love to as many as we can.
Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at email@example.com His website is: www.dennishankins.com