Tune in the voices of Our Lord and respond with concrete moral actions
Sermon by Fr. Anthony Le
There are many people when we say their names we automatically think of what they represent. The impact they may have created, or the things they have invented. If we think of electric cars, who do you think of? Of course, Elon Musk. If you think of Microsoft, probably Bill Gates. If you think of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. if you think of Holocaust, the terrible event, you think of Hitler. If you think of the Roman Empire, you think of Caesar Augustus. If we think of great work of Mercy being done to the Indians people, to those who are in need, we have some other tier of kindness, we have Mother Teresa. All those people who are poor now, in need and finally encounter the mercy of God in person.
Now when we enter into the second week of Advent, who do we encounter? We encountered John the Baptist. John the Baptist is the voice in the desert. Fascinating concept, a voice in the desert crying out loud to the people: repent, come back, be baptized. return, make a good comeback. Because someone is coming now, is an opportunity to get back now, as an opportunity to return. So my brothers and sisters, let's use John the Baptist as a figure who represents an amazing turnaround for those who wanted to hear the voice of God.
In the first reading, we noticed that there's something beautifully described, that there is a new life, New Order, there's a new Harmony being established by the coming of the Messiah, the root of Jesse, the one who has been promised for so long. if he ㄈㄈcomes, if he comes, children are going to be playing around with animals. The most furious animals now act like a little sheep, Little Lamb, together with an innocent child. Depicting a wonderful, wonderful world. my brothers and sisters, be honest, we all want that world. we're living in a world that is so saturated with violence, political attacks, left and right, dying, suffering, political unrest - China, the Middle East, here in the United States, the Iraq war, in Ukraine, everywhere we turn. don't we want that peace? That beautiful World?
Perhaps even within our own families. I'd have to say even within the Parish Community, that we have now, that we want that Harmony, we want that Unity. but the prophet told us that Harmony won't happen, that Unity won't happen without the coming of the Messiah, without the presence of the Messiah, without responding to the voice of the almighty God. And John the Baptist understood that the world won't come without a personal response from those who were entrusted with that message. He is calling his own people, soldiers, Tax Collectors, common people. If you are cheating, let's show the fruit of your repentance with concrete actions. He is asking them a personal response to his calling to repentance. my goodness, he even scared the people. you think I'm tough, wait until you see the man who comes after me, wait until you see the one who actually comes with power, with fire, and he's gonna burn everything that is not productive. He couldn't cut away everything that is not fruitful. John the Baptist saying you have an opportunity now, take it and manifest it by concrete moral Act. Don't just listen to me. John the Baptist is really bold, John the Baptist is pretty bold. so my brothers and sisters, perhaps I would like to say we have that voice of our conscience, the voice of the church is calling out to you and to me, last once again. we Orient our attention to Christ as once again, we reorient our life toward that. Which brings Harmony and peace.
What is it? Yesterday, we had a great Retreat. Father Matthew Spencer mentioned a few things. Maybe during this Advent a great opportunity for us to reconcile with God. Sit down in a quiet place, tune out some other noises, let's once again listen to the voice of God. Where do I pay so much attention? Where do I spend so much of my time and energy? Do I have time for God at all? Do I listen to his voice at all? Do I really believe and surrender my life, myself to the teaching of the holy mother Church? A moment of quiet could go a long way. It's the whole point of John a Baptist. that only when we are selling, can we listen. If we keep talking and chatting, and listening to something else how can we detect the voice of our almighty God? How could we hear the voice of our conscience? How can we really do so without mouth shut, and then open our ears and turn to the voice of Christ.
So my brothers and sister, if we think of John the Baptist, the second week of Advent, it means our Lord calling you and me. It means he's using John the Baptist as a voice calling you and me: come back to me, I'm going to give you the fire that burns off anything that makes you, one way or another, sinful. I'm going to, in the way, correct you, reshape you, and make you beautiful once again. he is going to use the fire to purify, is going to use that power, the power, my dear brothers and sister, that makes the world go round, the power that makes the world possible, the power of the Holy Spirit. I'm not talking about just the power to communicate by Facebook, I'm not talking about the power to really do so much with Microsoft Office, I'm not talking about the power that is generated by the battery pack, by a Tesla or whatever that might be. I'm talking about the power, The Life of Christ. I'm talking about the power generated from the very heart, very source of life itself - God the Almighty. Do we want that? And our Lord is saying : without that power, without that personal response, without that repentance, there won't be any peace, there won't be any Harmony. there will be order in the world.則喔
The prophet Isaiah predicted. It comes down to our personal response. Our Lord offers a deal, a very good deal, and now it's our personal response. dare we take that deal and respond to him by one day at the time, turn out noises that may not be conducive to our life, tune in the voices of Our Lord and respond with certain concrete moral actions. don't just listen but actually do it. may God bless us with strength and courage to really do so.
有些人，只要提起他們的名字，大家就知道他是誰，他的影響力或發明的東西。 譬如說，提起電動車，就會想到伊隆·馬斯克； 微軟，比爾·蓋茨； 臉書，馬克扎克伯格。當我們提到種族滅絕大屠殺，就是希特勒。我們也對美善人物有所認知。談到為印度最貧窮可憐的人做慈悲工作，就會想到德肋撒修女。 她對窮困潦倒、絕望的人行善，使他們親身體驗到天主的憐憫。.
今天的福音談到了洗者若翰。 洗者若翰是”主在曠野裏呼喊的聲音”。 若翰在曠野中呼喊：“悔改，回歸父家，接受洗禮，回來吧“。救主來了，給了我們一個悔改，重新站起來的機會。 兄弟姐妹們和期望救恩的人，讓我們聽從洗者若翰的呼喊，悔改領洗，爭取重生的機會。
讀經一中有一段描寫彌賽亞來臨後所建立的社會，充滿了新的和諧和秩序。這就是天主給以色列的後裔所許的新天新地。在那兒，兒童和動物一起玩耍， 兇猛的野獸會像小綿羊一樣的溫和天真，一個美好的世界，我們都想要的理想世界。 但是我們現在正生活在一個充滿著暴力、政治對立、死亡、苦難和動蕩的世界。無論是在中國、中東、美國、伊拉克、或是烏克蘭，到哪裡都一樣。到底我們渴望的那種和平，那個美麗的世界在哪裡？
在我們家中，在教區，在社區內，我們也都渴望著和諧，合一的關係。 但是先知告訴我們，沒有彌賽亞的到來，沒有耶穌的臨在，沒有回應天主的呼喊，就不會產生和諧和團結的世界。 洗者若翰很明白，如果那些聽到天主信息的人沒有做出回應，新天新地就不會來臨。 洗者若翰向以色列人、士兵、稅吏、平民呼喊：如果你犯了罪，就用實際的行動來結悔改的果實吧。 他要求每個人都為自己悔改的呼喚做出回應。 他要求悔改的態度是非常的強硬，他說：如果你不悔改，你就會面對那位真正有力、帶著火，砍掉並燒掉一切不結好果子的審判官。 洗者若翰建議你我把握機會，以具體的行為來改過遷善。 他給了我們一個非常直接和清楚的道路，不要只聽不做。兄弟姐妹們，我們的良心，教會的教導正在向我們呼喚。讓我們再次將注意力轉向基督，將生活中心重新定位於基督，為這個世界帶來和諧與平安。
洗者若翰改過遷善的呼喊到底要如何成就呢？ 昨天堂區舉行了一個避靜。避靜是我們與天主和好的好機會。 馬修斯賓塞神父給了我們幾個建議。 他要我們找個安靜的地方，坐下，與外面雜音隔絕來聆聽主的聲音。 問問自己：我的關注這麼多，到底我關注了什麼？ 我的時間和精力都花到哪裡去了，有留給天主時間嗎？ 我聽到了天主的聲音嗎？ 我真的相信，並將我的生命，和自己，奉獻給慈母教會的教導嗎？ 片刻的安靜可以幫我們走很長的路。 這些反思包含了施洗若翰的全部呼求。 因為只有在靜默中，才能傾聽。 不停地講，又聽雜音，如何能聽到天主的聲音呢？ 如何能聽到我們良心的聲音呢？ 所以閉起嘴，打開耳朵，傾聽主的聲音。
在將臨期的第二主日，認識了洗者若翰，那意味著主在呼喚你和我。 主藉著施洗若翰呼喚：回到我身邊吧，我要用火淨化你，燒掉任何使你犯罪的東西 。 我要糾正你，重塑你，讓你再次美麗無瑕。 我要使用那使世界運轉的力量，使世界成為可能的力量，聖神的力量來改造你。在這裡我所謂的能力不是那通過臉書交談的能力，不是那使用 Microsoft Office 做事的能力，也不是那由特斯拉電池產生的力量。 我說的力量是基督的生命，是從內心產生的能量，生命本身的源泉—全能天父的力量。 你想要這無窮的能量嗎？ 主說：沒有這無窮的創造能量，沒有受造者的回應，沒有悔改，這世界就不會有任何和平，和諧，和秩序。
先知依撒意亞預言説。 一切結果都在於我們的選擇。 主給了我們一個對我們非常有利的選擇。關鍵是我們是否接受這選擇。在今天就作出回應，切斷生活的噪音，聽從主的聲音，並且以具體的行為來回應，不要只聽不做。 願天主賜予我們力量和勇氣來作這個選擇。