Behold the lamb of God, John says of Christ. He pointed to Christ the way the truth and the life for his day. Lets do the same for the lost of the flock today and confess where we fail in this..
We live in throw-away society. Everything reminds us of this. Were told to change our car every few years. Most of us have closets full of clothes that we’ll never use again, or pairs of quite good shoes that we’ve discarded. A consumer society taps into this, producing goods with a limited life span; like the mission impossible tape, they have a self-destruct mechanism.
Similarly in our society people are disposable. The part time worker is cheap, so they’re used. Workers are made redundant to make a profitable company more so. Over-qualified professors are dumped for cheaper lecturers. Over-forties find it very difficult to get new jobs. Early retirement relieves companies of dead weight. Old people are sent to homes lest they be a burden to us.
In this context our Gospel reminds us of our enduring personal value in Christ. St.James points to Him in the first reading and John the Baptist shows us the Lamb of God to whom each of us is so special. As one church year ends and another begins, we’re reminded that Christ came to discard no one but to raise all to untold heights, especially those cast aside by the world. He has a more than satisfying permanent job ready for us for eternity. To Him young or old, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, we’re all infinitly valued and loved. No one’s at the end of their sell-by date, there are no “losers” in Christ’s kingdom.
That’s why November, all souls month, the month of death, leads on to Advent and Christmas, times of life and hope. As Christ says in todays Gospel: “look, John, the dead are raised to life, and blessed are those who do not lose faith in me”. Advent reminds us of the greatness and eternal newness of faith in Christ; how on life’s journey we’re cherished at every stage. We dont end up in trash cans, as some do in a throwaway society, but in paradise. Because Christ, the Lamb of God, gives us such meaning, value and dignity, we should never lose faith in Him.
And in love we should try to live us to that dignity, to live as God’s children should. Advent is a good time to see how were doing in that respect. To take stock of our position, consult our spiritual map and ready ourselves for the great day of the lord’s final coming at death or at the end of the world. For that end is our beginning only if we continue to open our eyes to God’s higher values, continue to nurture the Godly humanity within us. In this, lets see Christmas as more than a means to fill the coffers of the rich. Lets cherish all as more than commodities, especially the very old, the young, the poor, the unemployed and the vulnerable. Lets also cherish God’s holy church anew. For the catechism warns us that “the present time is the time of spirit and witness, but its also a time marked by distress and the trial of evil which doesn’t spare anyone, and especially doesnt spare the church. We’re ushering in the struggles of the last days”. In the turmoil of these end times our safe anchor is the Lord. As James says, in present trials we must be patient until the lord comes. For the world of which Satan is lord will pass away at last, leaving its devotess on the dust heap, but Christ is lord of human dignity, love, peace, happiness and salvation both for our fullest life in this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as God’s people cherishing all in Christ and raising them up to a dignity the world cannot give, lets profess our faith anew..
Prayers of the faithful
And as the people of God lets ask him for all that we need..
For our holy Father the Pope and the bishops of the church, that they may uphold the infinite dignity of all people as children of God and lead all to the untold riches of Christ this Advent..
For civil leaders that they may not become so caught up in economics as to forget that their main role, which is to serve the people and raise the poor to their full human dignity..
For our youth that serving Christ, his church and all that’s good with their whole hearts, they may make a difference by their lives and earn the everlasting reward of the blessed..
For ourselves in homes, workplaces and communities that Advent may be a time to lavish special loving care on those around us..
For the sick and the needy in mind or soul that through our faith and care they may know their infinite value as God’s children..
For the dead that their work in this world done they may reap the rewards of their faith and love, and through our prayers come to the home prepared for them from the foundation of the world..
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ Our Saviour who came to us in a stable to raise us to God forever and ever, amen.
In hospitals I’m always shocked by the strange logic of our world. In one ward a child of 22 weeks is saved as a human being, while in another a baby of exactly the same age is dismembered and thrown in a trash can. One is a child, the other a non-being. Mother Theresa’s answer to all this was, give the children to me, I’ll love them as the children of God that they are. Lets not see life as disposable like our hard commercial modern world does. Lets not sell our souls for its passing consumerism, but have the wisdom to know where real enduring values are, in God and the Christ he sent to give human life timeless value…Hail Mary