Advent 1

First Sunday of Advent.
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord!
Veni, Veni Emmanuel!

A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Mark 1: 3

Our faith is steep in traditions. We come to the point in our liturgical season to prepare to celebrate the most Holy Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Season of Advent. For centuries Christians used this holy season to prepare themselves spiritually for Christmas. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus and means “coming” or “arrival.”

Although people think of advent as a season of joyous celebration, it is actually a season of preparation, it is a mini-Lent, a time for prayer, confession, and self-reflection. If you pay attention to our liturgical colors, you will see that at times I wear either Black or Serum Blue vestments. The reason behind this is to recall that we are in a penitentiary season, to remind us that we need to prepare ourselves to welcome the new born King and make straight his paths!

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14

Make His home literally means tabernacle. The analogy is that of the Tabernacle in the wilderness when God pitched His tent among the Hebrews and manifested His glory there so Jesus identified Himself with humanity by becoming human! Why did God go so far? A chief reason is this: He wants us to know that He understands us, He gets us. Through a scandalous pregnancy, an untimely trip and an overcrowded inn, God triumphed in the Virgin Mary’s Story. God look on your face in the hope that you would see His!

I want you to take a moment and think of one or two traditions that you and your family use to help you in your Advent journey. Are you preparing your hearts and your minds to kneel at the manager come Christmas Morning or are you to wrapped up in the secular aspect of this Holy Season? I utter the words of John the Baptist again: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

Advent is a season of preparation because it is also a season of anticipation—a glorious gift is coming soon and we want to be ready to receive it! Because God became human, we can see and know God in the person of Jesus. We can also rely on the fact that God knows us. He understands how we feel because He has faced what we face, including weakness, testing and suffering. Author and theologian C.S. Lewis elaborates on the vital importance of this truth: “God could, had he pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the Stoic sort who lets no sigh escape him. Of his great humility he chose to be incarnate in the man of delicate sensibilities who wept at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane…. He has faced all that the weakest of us face, has shared not only the strength of our nature but every weakness of it except sin. If He had been incarnate in a man of immense natural courage, that would have been for many of us almost the same as his not being incarnate at all!”

What Sacrifice do you make this Advent Season? Name it and own it! The Confessional will be open every day for the Sacrament of Absolution, and Adoration times will be posted.

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord! O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

True Love?

What Is True Love In Christ?
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr

My brothers and sisters please take a moment and pray with me. Oh Lord, cleanse the thoughts of my mind and anoint my lips and heart that I may teach Your Word according to your Will. Amen.

Jeremiah 6:16 NKJV: Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

I have a question for you my brothers and sisters, I’m full of questions…just because I wear this collar doesn’t mean I am not inquisitive. I’m full of questions…just ask anyone. Today’s question I just happen to think I know the answer to I hope you know that answer too. What is True Love In Christ?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word Love: as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests. Webster further defines it as: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, brotherly concern for others, and a person’s adoration of God.

Yes brethren we see that this word Love has a few meanings yet they are all tied together and one. We love our families, our partners, our friends, and we love our God and with that love comes deep and unending respect.

Therefore, before we get to what true love in Christ is, we first need to see what the Scriptures describe love as.

Song of Songs 8:6-7 New International Version: “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

What is the Scripture telling us? The Word is telling us that Love is as strong as death; it cannot be bought for any price. Love is priceless even the richest king can’t buy it. Love must be freely accepted as a gift from God, and then bestowed and shared with everyone to be fully felt.

John 3:16 New Living Translation: ” For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

In this very verse my brothers and sisters God sets the pattern of true love, the foundation for all love relationships; when you love someone dearly you are willing to give freely to the point of self sacrifice. God also showed us that by offering His Son to die for our sins, that He has for us what is called Agape Love, meaning Unconditional Love.

Now this brings me to the question, how do we love others as Christ loves us? The answer to this may just also be the answer of today’s question.

John 15:12-13 King James Version: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ”

We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to show sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, sharing and giving. Think of someone today who could use this kind of love; and give all the love you can, and then give an ounce more. Remember that it is easy to love, yet easier to hate, so remember to love as much as you can and don’t let society and the Devil win and let you hate!

Romans 13:10 The Message: “You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.”

My brethren, Jesus does not leave loopholes in the Law of Love. Whenever love demands it, we must and should go beyond all human “legal” requirements and emulate the God of Love.

Matthew 10:42 New Living Translation: “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

How much we love Jesus and God our Father can be measured by how well we treat others. So to fully answer the question: What Is True Love In Christ? We can surely see that the ultimate sign is when you lay down your life for a friend; as well as, showing love to all, even to those whom you feel do not require it or deserve it.

My brothers and sisters, I leave you with two questions to ponder in your hearts, minds and souls. How would you respond if Jesus asked you: “Do you love me?” and “Are you even my friend?”