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Good day dear brothers and sisters! You have noticed the change in liturgical color today. We are already beginning a new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent, a time God gives us to help us prepare to receive in a new and fresh way the Father’s gift of his Son to the world for the life of the world. The eternal Son of God was first given to humanity when Mary conceived the divine Son in her womb at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, which we celebrate on March 25th. Nine months later, on December 25th, we celebrate the Nativity, the Birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, Jesus, the Light of the world.
What’s not so unusual about the Word the Lord addresses to us today is that in the words of the prophet Isaiah, God gives us permission to complain. That’s right. God inspired Isaiah to complain to God on behalf of the people, because they were quite fed up of suffering and of waiting for God to manifest his power and act to save them.
Do you have any reason to complain these days? Some people say to me: “I don’t know, Father, our life is pretty good in spite of the troubles of these times. I have a good life, a wonderful spouse, good children, work isn’t so good but we get by. Our health is okay so far.”
On the other hand, other people say to me: “Father, I’m fed up with all this Covid trouble. We argue more at home sometimes, the children are climbing the walls, work is bad, there is some sickness in the family… when will it all end? We’re really quite fed up.”
You know, it occurred to me that in the past at times I would wonder what it must have been like for people when they had to go through WWI from 1914 to 1918. At the time, they called it the Great War because it was the most extensive war in the world in living memory and could very well have been the worst war in human history by involving the greatest number of people.
While they were in it, and as the casualties mounted, it must have felt as though it would never end. The days and weeks must have seemed so long and hard to endure. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, just as the war ended, the Spanish Flu began to spread all over the world and it lasted for two years. During WWI 20 million died, but the Spanish Flu killed 50 million over two years when the world population was around 1.8 billion.
WWII killed between 70 and 85 million people when the world population was around 2.3 billion. As people lived through the Spanish Flu and suffered the sickness and death of people all around them and in their own families, the trouble and pain must have felt endless, as if it would never end. They must certainly have complained and cried out to God. It was the same during WWII with the exception that for those left behind here there was an incredible new prosperity with the development of war time industrial expansion for the production of arms and equipment and supplies for the war effort. Many women got jobs for the first time ever.
So, what is life like for you and your loved ones these days? Do you have any reason to complain or are you feeling fed up with the situation we are living in during our time? Well, if you are fed up and feeling like complaining, don’t be shy to complain to God. After all, He is our Father in heaven, our Creator who made us, and He knows how we’re made and what it is like for us to endure all these things.
One good reason to complain is why the Lord allowed our Church in Montreal to have so much trouble understanding that Brian Boucher was a troubled man and dangerous priest who did so much harm to people. Why did it take so long to stop him? Why was he ordained in the first place? You can read all about that in Judge Capriolo’s report on the Diocese’s website.
It is perfectly natural for us to have trouble understanding the ways of the Lord and to put our questions to Him. Lord, why are there a few bad priests? Lord, when will this Covid-19 pandemic come to an end? We have been praying for an effective remedy to cure the sick; as well as for an effective vaccine to prevent anyone else from being infected or developing symptoms and getting sick or dying. How long must we continue to wait and worry?
Brothers and sisters, as we prepare the bread and wine on the Altar, it is important for us to also put on the Altar our needs, our complaints, our fears, our troubles, our worries, all our concerns for ourselves and the people we love, and to bring to the Father – together with Jesus – all that we carry in our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies…. Jesus invites us to make a total offering of ourselves to the Father together with Him as He allows us to participate in the total gift He made of Himself to the Father at the Last Supper and on the Cross….
Please also remember that as we prepare to welcome the joy and gift of Jesus and celebrate Him at Christmas, a very effective way to make room for God in our lives is to examine our conscience and then make a good confession before the priest, because when we go to see the priest, it is Jesus who is there listening to us. Jesus sends his priests to us.
If you haven’t been to confession in a long time, maybe now would be a good time to do it while we are still alive on this Earth. Jesus waits in the person of the priest to give us his mercy.
So let us continue to pray for one another that we might accept the encouragement and grace of the Holy Spirit to open wide our heart, our mind, our spirit and even our body to the presence and the love of God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us take a few moments in silence to reflect on this Good News spoken to us by the Lord.
© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC