Lent is vastly approaching us; this year it begins on St. Valentine’s Day. I know most of you my beloved readers look forward to the daily devotional and homily I post during the journey. Are y’all looking forward to it this year? What do you want to see it included.
How will you know what you are doing well or could be doing better this Lent? Remember, in the presence of God: “Examination of conscience. A daily task. Bookkeeping—never neglected by anyone in business. And is there any business worth more than that of eternal life?” (The Way, no. 235)
Holy Gospel of John 12:1-11 NLT
“Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.”
“Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ’s gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God’s Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.”
Advent IV: Don’t Procrastinate
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.
(sing) Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.
Jeremiah 13:6 (Amplified): Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness and before your feet stumble upon the dark and twilit mountains, and [before], while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it thick darkness.
Ecclesiastics 3:1 (NLT): For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
We are in the Holy Season of Advent, a time to prepare for the wonderful celebration of the Holy Nativity. What is the greatest sin against preparing? Procrastination. Let us define procrastination: the Random House Dictionary states: “the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”
Right now, today, this very moment your soul requires your immediate attention. Turn your hearts and minds into preparing for that beautiful moment when we celebrate our Saviors birth as well as to His Second coming. Take to the most Holy Sacraments especially Confession/Absolution and then the most Holiest of all the Sacred Eucharist! Pray the Rosary and yes even partake in our weekly Stations of the Cross!
Let us consider our Gospel reading today with the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
The Holy Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13 (Douay-Rheims Bible): THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
This commentary from Matthew Henry sums up our task at hand. “The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ’s coming. As Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ’s approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. The suddenness of death and of Christ’s coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor’s conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”
Ecc 11:3-4 (KJV): If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
Deuteronomy 23:21(Douay-Rheims Bible): When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin.
Watch and be ready for we know not the great hour our Savior will return. We celebrate this season of penance and preparedness by searching our hearts, and our minds. Do not fall into the sin of procrastination; keep your lamp always ready and prepared. Veni, Veni Emanuel et Fidelis!