Pastor’s Weekly Message 12-4-22

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
Imagine you are sitting in your pew, Mass is going along as usual, and at the moment of the homily I announce we have a special guest homilist today, fresh from retreat in the desert, wearing a camel hair outfit and bringing with him a favorite delicacy, locusts and honey, to share with all of us. A bizarre looking man goes up to the ambo and begins wildly exhorting all of us to repent. I do not know that John the Baptist would necessarily receive rave reviews. Even in his own time he was, in a word, weird. But not really any stranger than the Son of God being born in a barn, a poor infant worshipped first by shepherds. The season of Advent continues remind us that God sometimes comes disguised as an disruption or inconvenience.
I wrote last week about how Isaiah is a familiar Advent companion. Today’s depiction of God’s holy mountain as a place of peace and justice, a place that all will seek out because it is glorious, invites us to consider what it would take to create such a place in our world. What would it take for the wolf to be the lamb’s guest not his hunter? What would it take for the leopard to cuddle the baby goat, not feast on her? How could the snake feel safe enough not strike at the child at play? The answer is justice. In all these instances, it would be possible if the world did not require us to dominate one another, to defend ourselves, to scramble and scrabble for the resources to survive. If all our needs were met, all our hurts were healed, and if we felt no threat from anyone or anything,  the peaceable kingdom that Isaiah postulates would begin to be imaginable.
This is the blueprint that our eccentric friend John the Baptist is calling us to follow. The repentance he is preaching draws us away from the regular and challenges us in this Advent season to take risks in making changes to our usual patterns . It requires courage to elevate justice in our often unjust world, but this bravery can bring us closer to God’s Kingdom.
I wish you and your loved ones Advent blessings of good health, great peace, and true justice,

Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.

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