Thursday, December 03, 2020

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

\Strong foundations make for strong buildings, able to withstand the varied changes in weather and seasons. Jesus ends the greatest sermon ever preached, his magnificent Sermon on the Mount, speaking of the man building a house on strong foundations: “the rain fell, the floods came, the wind blew and buffered the house... it did not collapse for it was built upon rock.” Our lives are no different: when we build our lives on the foundation of faith, mercy, justice and selflessness, our lives WILL WITHSTAND the many floods of disappointments, failures, illnesses....the winds of change, justice, honesty...the drenching rains of depression, fear, and helplessness.

What is the foundation of your life? Or rather, WHO is the foundation? If Christ is the very foundation and grounding of our lives, we will do much more than survive the many trials of life... we will THRIVE as we endure; we will be strengthened in character; we will love God ever so much more. NOTHING will ever defeat us or destroy our dignity. NOTHING on life built upon the foundation of Christ and his gospel.

But if the foundation of our lives is material success, possessions, comforts, privileges , our lives will eventually be shaken and crumble when the resulting emptiness and loneliness fill the many rooms in our hearts. The house built on “sand” falls apart due to a very weak foundation. Our lives are just like this house, so teaches Jesus, in this, his greatest Sermon. They can’t withstand the troubles and trials of life that inevitably come if they are built upon the sands of ego and self absorption.

Advent is the season of reckoning, admitting what needs to be strengthened and fortified to slowly strengthen our foundation. Prayer that is consistent, encountering Christ in prayer and action, reaching out to others in need, treating people with kindness and compassion, letting go of possessions, changing one’s attitude from bitterness to gratitude....these realities and practices make us strong individuals who are able to transform the little corner of the world in which we live.

The message of Advent is that the time of salvation is NOW, the time for change is NOW, for Christ is coming back, returning a second time, to pronounce judgement. We will stand firm in this time of revelation, only if Christ is the foundation of our lives. And it’s never too late to change, for Christ will not only come back at the end of the world... He comes NOW, in each and every moment in the present.

Experiencing Christ as he comes in the present moment strengthen our foundation.

Fr. Frank