Advent 2014

 
 

To all the brothers and sisters of the Oases - Realities of
Koinonia John the Baptist

Christ is Risen!

There is a parable that has always attracted my attention. It is the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, that is found in chapter 22 of Matthew’s Gospel.
The king invites people to the wedding of his son, but those invited don’t respond. The king then sends his servants out on the streets to invite everyone that they can find, both good and bad. There is a condition, however - they must have a wedding garment. The room fills up but among those who were invited there is one who is without a wedding garment and is bound and thrown out into the darkness.
There are three points that appear to me as important: the wedding invitation, the good and bad guests and the wedding garment. I think that these are three elements to guide us this Advent.

Wedding Invitation
The Lord is always a generous host, always ready to share his desire to have a feast. He never forgets to invite us. The challenge is to accept his invite. We are overcome by many things that are in our hearts which rob the time that we have reserved for the Lord. We don’t have any more time! It is our excuse for not telling the truth that we just aren’t that interested, defending ourselves from a more intense involvement. It is the same both with the things of the Lord and community commitments - everything is done in a regime of ‘under-dosing’.
What do we need to do? Allow ourselves to become involved with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters, giving the time necessary to prayer and relationships, at least a hearty greeting.

Good and bad guests
Everyone is invited, both god and bad. No one is excluded. This is very consoling and therefore it allows me to consider myself among those who are worthy. The Lord loves always and in every way.  This is the truth that sustains the dynamism of our life. To be pleasing to God we don’t need to be stressed out by the production of good works on an assembly line; it is enough just to be ourselves. He doesn’t classify us and  neither does he check the quality or the efficiency of our religious and moral ‘produce’. We remain always on his side, worthy of participating in the feast. However, this is not easy to accept. We would like to be welcomed because we have earned it, while in reality we are welcomed because He is good.

Allow yourself to be welcomed by the Lord and by your brothers and sisters just as you are, stopping passing judgements and complaining. Bless!

Reflecting on our brothers and sisters it’s the same thing, and we commit the sin of pride and we trigger a competition of rivalry that make our relationships bitter. We want to count for something, but instead we are welcomed not because we deserve it, but because the others are good. What do you need to do? Allow yourself to be welcomed by the Lord and by your brothers and sisters just as you are, stopping passing judgements and complaining. Bless!

Wedding Garment
The fact that it is possible for someone who has been invited to forget to put on the wedding garment surprises me. By doing so they miss the opportunity to participate in the wedding feast. I come to the conclusion that he acted like a fool.
And many times we are foolish. We think that we don’t need to convert anymore, that we have tried many times but at the end we’re fine as we are. This way we get used to everything and no longer feel the inner weight of the Spirit who calls us to conversion. Changing your garment is not only to implement an adjustment of ethics but to more deeply conform to the gift received.

What have we received? The gift of salvation and of community. We must conform to this gift with an active conversion.

What have we received? The gift of salvation and of community. We must conform to this gift with an active conversion. I wouldn’t like for it to happen that we condemn ourselves by justifying everything. Holiness of life mustn’t be placed in a closet. What do you need to do? Become saints, meaning disciples who are virtuous in charity, zealous in proclamation, loving towards our brothers and sisters, generous and welcoming to the poor who live beside you. Conform to love.

Here are the three guidelines that I suggest this Advent: give time to prayer, use your language not to judge but to speak well of your brothers and sisters, and perform concrete gestures of acceptance and of solidarity with your brother.

Dearest brothers and sisters, lets make sure that after having preached to the others we ourselves don’t become disqualified (cf. 1.Cor 9:27).

 

Plzeň-Valcha, 17th November, 2014

Fr. Alvaro Grammatica
 Pastor General