The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! 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Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

God Will Come

December 6, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

December 6, 2015
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
Fr. George Smiga

All four of the gospels mention John the Baptist, but only Luke situates him in the political context of his time. We see Luke doing this at the beginning of today’s gospel. He mentions important political figures of the first century: Tiberius who was the Emperor of Rome, Herod who was son of Herod the Great, his brother Philip who ruled the region northeast of Galilee. To Luke’s original hearers these political figures would be as easily recognized as Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Bashar al-Assad are to us today. Luke mentions them because he wants to make it clear that the message of John the Baptist was meant to impact them. You see when John the Baptist cries out, “Prepare the way of the Lord,” he not seeking to prepare the way of the Lord into heaven, or even prepare the way of the Lord into our hearts, he is announcing the way of the Lord into the complex, corrupt, and violent world in which we live.

The message of John the Baptist (and by the way the message of Christianity) is that God is coming. God is coming into this world to change things, to clean up the mess of this world. John’s language about making winding ways straight and rough ways smooth is his way of saying that God is coming to unravel all that is corrupt and unjust in this world. God intends to eliminate poverty, violence, war, hatred, and greed. God is coming to set things right, so that this world will not be Rome’s kingdom or America’s kingdom or Russia’s kingdom, but the kingdom of God.

Today the gospel challenges us to accept John’s message. But this is not easy. Once we realize that his message applies to the political structures of our world, the stakes of believing are heightened. When we look at acts of terrorism in Paris and San Bernardino, when we look at the dysfunction of Washington, the pollution of our earth and thousands of refugees fleeing Syria, it seems that it is more logical to conclude that, far from coming, God is staying away. But faith calls us to believe that John’s message is true, that God is still coming into the broken world in which we live. Such a conviction marks the difference between believers and unbelievers. All people of good will want a better world, a world that is peaceful and just. But believers trust that peace and justice can be established in our world, not simply through the efforts of John Kerry, Angela Merkel, and Pope Francis, but through the presence and power of God working around them and through them to bring about God’s kingdom.

So the next time you become despondent because of all that is wrong in our world, the next time you become frightened by the presence of terrorism on our soil, the next time it seems hopeless that this world will ever be free of hatred and greed, John the Baptist tells us to believe that God is not indifferent to this world and that God still intends to change what is wrong.

Of course, many people in our world would see such a belief as pious nonsense. It certainly would have seemed that way to the Emperor Tiberius, if someone had reported to him that there was a wild Jewish prophet proclaiming the coming of God in the Judean wilderness. But today only a handful of people remember who Tiberius was and millions and millions of Christians gather as we do today to again hear the preaching of John. Let us stand with them in faith and believe that John’s message is true. Let us believe that even as we work for peace and justice, we are not alone. God is active. God still intends to come.

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