The Christmas Gift that Keeps on Giving

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

This Advent period has introduced to us the new Liturgical Year proclaimed by Pope Francis as the Year of Grace and Forgiveness within the Church, with copious opportunities for growth in one’s spiritual life as recently set forth by Deacon Ivan in his recent Clergy segment.

For this country and the world, however, the coming year continues to threaten a persistence of immoral turmoil and horror as exemplified in legalized murder throughout the world of the innocent in the womb, and now added in this country, the commercialization of the aborted baby parts by “Planned Parenthood.” Throughout the world there emerges a plethora of Evil as manifested by threatening rogue states such as North  Korea, Iran and the growing Caliphate of ISIS whose sacred text of the Koran calls for the bloody destruction of all considered to be infidels in their midst whenever the opportunity presents itself -- while at the same time our   present ever increasingly tyrannical government, dismissing inconvenient Constitutional Laws with impunity, continues its program of deceptive divisiveness among the different classes of Americans and Immigrants; a government and many of its people that opt for creating their own fantasy world by defying the reality of Nature itself, as evidenced in its courts    legislating same-sex marriage and trans-genderism -- thus making God in their image -- while having dangerously weakened America’s once formidable Military power, as evidenced in nations such as Russia and China now asserting themselves by filling up the American Military lacuna by their own Military in areas once under a powerful solitary American presence that  assured protection for weaker countries allied with us.

The somberness of these times, however, is assuaged by Jesus Christ who tells us that we should not be afraid since He is with us and has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Thus the impending catastrophe of Mankind, threatened by the sinfulness of people who have exchanged being in the image of God for the image of what is “other than God,” as espoused by the growing religion of Secularistic Leftism, is seen then in a very different light when one considers the words of Jesus: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna… Yes, I tell you be afraid of that one” (Luke 12:54-5).

The implication in this teaching of Jesus is that the destiny of mankind is evidently NOT TIME, but the mystery of a dimension of reality which transcends “Time,” namely “ETERNITY” where being with God is revealed as “heaven,” while being forever separated from Him, is revealed as “Gehenna” -- the scriptural term for “Hell.”

This revelation, then, that far more is to be experienced than simply existing in “Time,” is evidenced in the Resurrection of the humanity of Christ -- where His coming out of the tomb and with a glorified Body reveals to us that time and the tomb are not our destiny, but rather eternity is our   destiny: an eternal experience of being in the Kingdom of God, or an eternal experience outside the Kingdom of God -- this either/or reality   being found in the significance of Christ’s words: “You are either with me or against me;” and again --“I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But   whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8- 9).

How does one “acknowledge” God? The most basic way is striving to live God’s blueprint of what it takes to survive as a human being in a sin-filled world -- namely “living” what is declared in the Ten Commandments -- living the theological gifts of Faith, Hope and Love with which we were blessed at our Baptism; thus having God’s teachings as the guidelines for living an authentic human life. This enables us to survive by being in God’s image, in spite of finding ourselves in this Satan-contaminated fallen world. Recall the words of Jesus: “If you love me, keep my commandments; my Father will love you and we will come and make our abode with you” (John 14:23).

Who better to enable us to survive as the adopted children of God in this world that is hostile to God than Jesus Christ who, two thousand years ago, came on this earth and lived as one of us; who assured us: “Behold, I am with you at all times, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20)… “Be not afraid” (Matthew 28:10). “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

As we come to the end of Advent and prepare ourselves to celebrate the historical fact of Christmas, namely, that Christ Jesus, our Savior, has truly come into this world as “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), let us ask ourselves, to what degree have we permitted Jesus to unconditionally come and dwell within us so that the heavenly Father may “see and love in us what He sees and loves in His Son”? (Preface Prayer in the Mass) -- the proof of which is when we can give the love of Christ Jesus as our     Christmas Gift to others throughout our lives here on earth -- THE CHRISTMAS GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING!!

Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: “Come ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you….(for) as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:34, 40). “Enter thou into the joy of the Lord…” (Matthew 25:23).

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