This past week was a good week for watching TV. It was great to watch the Macy’s Christmas Parade with all it pomp and creativity, then a couple of exciting football games with all their hype. But then came the downer, those disgusting scenes of the shopping feeding frenzy and the violence of Black Friday. I don’t know about you but it boggled my mind. This wild craze to shop, people grabbing up things they don’t really need, fighting over junk, punching one another out, pepper spraying other people. I found it so disgusting. It’s that age old question, what’s the world coming to?
And then in Saturday’s Toronto Star there was a wonderful article on one of our parishioners who was buried from here on Thursday, Sam Manna. For years every Christmas, Sam and eventually his children were involved in delivering brightly wrapped gift boxes to needy children throughout the city. It made Sam cherish the things with which his own life was blessed. As one of his sons said, “helping needy people grounded him. It helped him appreciate what he had with his kids.” Sam knew that it is giving that we receive. Even as his own health failed and while caring for his sick wife Sam continue his work with the Santa Claus Fund. Sam, a quiet, unassuming man, was a long time parishioner of St. Gabes and was a force in the building of our new church. Sam was an expert in cement – look around and see his handiwork.
I’m trying to believe there are more Sam Mannas in the world than there are those crazed, grabbing people caught up in the propaganda, “shop til you drop.” Consume, consume, consume.
This is the first Sunday of Advent, a season of self examination as we prepared ourselves to celebrate the wonder of wonders: God loved the world so much that he sent his son to the world, not to condemn us but to embrace our humanity.’ How often do we say the Our Father without ever thinking of what we are saying? Do we really mean what we say when we pray ‘thy kingdom come’? Thy kingdom come to that part of me which has yet to be redeemed. We all know we are mistake-making beings, we all know we are unfinished products. Mark’s gospel tells all of us to wake up, be alert, be sensitive, be aware of life as it is lived around us, be open to all those occasions during the course of the day that call us to be more loving, more patient, more forgiving, more self controlled, more generous. Thy kingdom come to that part of me that is yet to be redeemed.
God called us to life at our conception, God called us to life at our baptism. Life is not a stagnant reality. Our life long journey is to grow in Christ, put on Christ. As long as we breathe there is more of our lives to opened, unlocked to God’s life and grace, there is so much more of us that has yet to be redeemed, so much more in our lives that can be open to God’s grace and life and healing.
May our Advent prayer be a constant, truthful prayer – thy kingdom come to that part of me that has yet to be redeemed so that each of us can image the Christ who loved us and died for us. The words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark may be read not only as a warning about the end times, but as a challenge for us to live in the present, to engage life now, to be attentive to the moment at hand. Thy kingdom come to that part of me which has yet to be redeemed –there is so much more to be done.