Saturday, December 5, 2009

Prepare na, now na

2nd Sunday of Advent
(Lk 3:1-6)

While I was pondering this Sunday's Gospel, I suddenly remembered that I wrote a related piece just a little over a year ago. My first post in CF actually: on the 1st Sunday of Advent - 2008. Check it out here.

Anyway, it is the second Sunday of Advent 2009, and the gospel is about St. John the Baptist's call for repentance - to prepare the way of the Lord. I want to share part of an amusing poem titled 'Repentance', by the writer-poet Robert William Service.
If you repent, the pastor said,
Your sins will be forgiven.
Yes, even on your dying bed
You're not too late for heaven.

That's just my cup of tea, I thought,
Though for my sins I sorrow;
Since salvation is easily bought
I will repent . . . tomorrow.
I guess that poem hits the mark in a sort of satirical way. When John the Baptist, the voice of one calling in the desert, called to prepare the way of the Lord, he meant immediate reconciliation and repentance. The word "prepare" automatically carries with it the inherent quality of immediacy. We simply cannot prepare and procrastinate at the same time. When we prepare our minds and hearts for the Lord, we profess our utmost love as in now, asap, pronto, a segundo mismo. After all, can we say to someone we heartily cherish that: I love you... tomorrow?

With repentance comes true reconciliation, and only then can we be ready and prepared to face the salvation of God. Imagine if today we postponed repentance for tomorrow or the day after, and then right in the very next minute the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. The adage "better late than never" always poses a huge gamble, especially when we bet with our souls.

From David Pekrul, here is another short poem:

To be on time is not my thing,
For I'm "Procrastination King",
But one day, be it late or soon,
I'll sing a very different tune.

Hmm. I hope the procrastination kings amongst us even get to sing tunes after the long haul. Otherwise, it would more like moaning.
On this, all of us pilgrims will surely need St. Paul's prayer in the second reading:

"---that your love may increase ever more and more, in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness, that comes through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God."


(x-posted for CatholicFriends)

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