Some people were having a discussion about what was the best way to cook a turkey. There were many different recipes, but one was intriguing. It was quite traditional with one very interesting twist. Before the turkey was seasoned, etc. this one cook would cut the turkey in half. The rest of the folks began to have a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages. Some thought it was to make it easier to baste, others that it would give more flavor for the gravy, others were not quite sure. Finally, they asked the cook why. He wasn’t sure but said he would check with his mother. When he asked, he was told that was they way she was taught by her mother. All her brothers and sisters agreed. So, he asked his grandmother who said it was the way it had always been done because she was taught by her mother. Unfortunately his great grandmother had passed way, but there was one great aunt left. He went to see her and asked why the turkey had to be cut in half to cook it. She simply looked at him and said: My mother had to cut the turkey in half because her oven was too small for the size of the turkey that was needed to feed everyone on Thanksgiving.
How much we are like that family. We do things over and over again and think that it is the only way. The Gospel of this First Sunday of Advent warns us not to get complacent. We are told to be prepared and awake. It is too easy to get stuck into living our faith on the surface and not encountering God. Advent is the time to wake up and allow God to change us into the people He created us to be. Advent is the time to remember that God is creating a new heavens and earth which began on Calvary but is not yet completed. There is no room for complacency in the Christian life. We cannot blend into society; we need to stand out as witnesses for something better.
Isaiah tells us that one sign of the Kingdom will be peace and harmony.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.
The amount of anger that seems to be pervading our world today is unbelievable. How we talk to each other when we disagree, what we hear and see on the news, how political discourse is done, how any of the world’s religions are used to justify violence, the amount of violence on our streets and in our hearts does not reflect the Kingdom. We do not have control over anyone else, but we do have control over ourselves and our own hearts. St Paul tell us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. To put on Christ demands we solve our issues with one another in peaceful and respectful ways. Name calling and barbs do more damage than a fist and a gun; honesty, compromise and peaceful communication change the world.
I wonder if this type of change is even possible today. Without Jesus and faith, it is impossible. The daily living the of Gospel, reading the Scripture and daily prayer, the regular celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the weekly attendance at the Eucharist are the key and necessary elements needed to transform us. Reconciliation challenges us to confront our sinfulness; the Eucharist transforms us into the living Body of Christ. By doing this, God will take us out of our complacency and surface Christianity and make us authentic signs of the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven; here and now!
Let us start preparing this week; not for Christmas Day, but for eternity. If we are trapped into doing it the same way over and over again, now is the time to wake up and ask God to show us how and what to change. May we beat the swords of our angry words into the songs of peace. May we turn the spears of our name calling into the pruning hooks that till the soil of the Kingdom. May the dew of God’s Spirit descent into our hearts and water the seeds of the Kingdom of God.
Come Lord Jesus, Come today!