Sunday Next before Advent

The day is cold and wintry, the skies heavy with dark cloud, the moisture in the air hinting of rain.  We bundled up and headed for Saint Peter’s Oakland this morning, to once again be part of the great Eucharistic sacrifice offered.  Coming in from the cold, the smiling faces of the friendly folk in the narthex greeted us warmly, and we entered the great sanctuary, the ark in which we travel through time on this earth, the Church.

We call today “Stir up” Sunday because of the opening prayer, the Collect, prayed today, this Sunday Next before Advent:

“Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…”

And we do indeed need some stirring up, for I often think we sleep through much of our lives.

The words are a warning, before we begin the season of Advent, the preparation for the great coming of God-made-man, Emanuel, in the manger outside Bethlehem.  Be ready! the prophet cries.  Christ is coming.

The Incarnation, the coming of God to earth, that we celebrate at Christmas is, of course, not the Second Coming, but an advent that prepares us for that Judgment Day, redeems us to face that accounting, gives us an Advocate, Christ himself, to defend us in the bright light of perfection.  Christmas reminds us time is passing.  Christmas reminds us time means something, counts.

Stir up the wills of thy faithful people…!  In-spire us, breath into us thy life. I gazed upon the tabernacle holding the Real Presence of Christ.  I sang with the congregation our hymns of supplication, thanksgiving, praise.  And I knew that Christ would stir us up, in his own time, each of us and all of us together, for we are his Body.  We await to see what he will do among us this Advent, as we await his coming, our hearts and souls open wide to his will, to his love.

Receiving the Eucharist, I was fed, inspired, breathed into.  With his grace, my will will be awakened to his.

St. Peter’s Church, 6113 Lawton, Oakland, CA; Sunday Mass, 10 a.m.;

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