HOMILY TO SECULAR FRANCISCAN ORDER MEMBERS
Fr Vjeko Tomic ofm, Canberra, Australia December 5, 1998
In order to answer what is the content of the liturgical period of Church time named Advent, Catholic school attendees should be capable of giving the proper answer. That is: joyful expectations!
We know that Advent is followed by Christmas that is born of Christ thus we know why the expectations should be joyful. Christ is at hand. God is preparing to renew his graces in us. How can we remain uninterested noting that fact? Joy is the first strong emotion that is prevailing in a Christian's heart in December.
The antiphon of the Evening prayer of the first Advent Sunday loudly proclaims: Tell to the nations: The Lord, our Saviour is coming! The second one is similar: Here, The Lord comes and His saints with him, there will be great light on that day, hallelujah! The antiphon for Mary's canticle in a similar prayer says: The Lord's name is coming from far away and His light fulfils the Earth!
It is always exciting to expect a guest's coming to our home. Particularly when he announces his arrival. We are looking forward to seeing him. We can't wait. Maybe, because we expect him to bring a breath of fresh air to our daily lives. Probably, we're eager to experience some change of our clichés, our routines which we are not always quite happy with.
We should have a similar approach in Advent. Christ himself had announced his coming. Before or later, in human history and in our individual life, less or more clear, Christ will definitively reveal Himself to everybody. The words: Here, Lord the King is coming soon, come, worship Him as we read in Office of Hours will come true.
The question is: what we are to do? Shall we just sit down and impatiently wait until Christmas come or until the second Jesus' coming? Certainly not. Advent is an invitation to all of us: People, let us clear our hearts in order that we can come out to meet him.
"When you stretch out your hands,
I turn my eyes away.
You may multiply your prayers, I shall not be listening.
Your hands are covered in blood, wash, make yourselves clean.
Take your wrongdoing out of my sight.
Cease doing evil. Learn to do well, search for justice, discipline the violent, be just to the orphan, and plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1, 15-17).
For those that have ears, clear indeed, very transparent. The Italians would say: chiarissimo. The invitation for conversion of hearts as a matter of fact is continuously presented in God's Word and in the Church's preaching of Gospel.
When we hear that, for us it means the kairos - that is, time of grace that has to be followed by our full prompt adherence and acceptance.
That is what Our Lady says in Medjugorje. The Church still doesn't oblige us to accept Medjugorje as an authentic place of Our Lady's appearance. Yet, when we hear her last message from 25 November it seems reasonable not take it for granted and do something now. Tomorrow might be - even for us - too late. It goes: (official translation)
"Dear children! Today I call you to prepare yourselves for the coming of Jesus. In a special way, prepare your hearts. May holy Confession be the first act of conversion for you and then, dear children, decide for holiness. May your conversion and decision for holiness begin today and not tomorrow. Little children, I call you all to the way of salvation and I desire to show you the way to Heaven. That is why, little children, be mine and decide with me for holiness. Little children, accept prayer with seriousness and pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having responded to my call."
I was sent yesterday by fax a marvellous poem whose message I would like to share with you. It is named "NIGHT BEFORE JESUS CAME".
Fr. Vjeko Edward Tomic