Prepare to receive the greatest dream God ever had for you and for me
Mass of 4th Sunday of Advent - 10am December 18th By Fr. Anthony Le
I had a dream, long time ago when I was a little boy; I wanted to be famous as Tom Cruise. I acted on stage for at least two years. I was quite well known in my community, local universities, and different theaters. The fact that I'm here, I didn't turn out well. I also had a dream to be a very famous artist like Michelangelo. so I learned how to draw. I wanted to be not only an artist but also an architect. so I did learn, but I did not finish. I became a software engineer instead. and I finished within three years. I thought I'm going to make a living out of it. And I turned out to be a priest 10 years later. So I had a lot of dreams, but none of them actually became Real and True. Now I truly understand why if you want to make God laugh, tell him your dreams. In a way the good Lord has a good laugh at me. The reason why I'm talking about dream, because our lord Jesus, a blessed mother, Saint Joseph, you and I, we are part of the greatest dream God ever had.
In today's Gospel, Joseph had his first dream. There's a series of four dreams that he is going to have. The first one has to do with this encounter with the angel that he's to receive Mary and the child as his own. The next one going to be Joseph has to take Mary and Jesus and run for his life and live in Egypt. The third one has to do with their return from Egypt, after those who wanted them dead actually died. And finally Joseph was directed in his dream to live not in Judea, but in Nazareth hidden life with his son and wife. In order to understand this beautiful series of dreams that Joseph had, in order to appreciate it, we have to go back from the beginning. we have to go back to the original dream that God had for Humanity. He made man and woman for one another; he made them so that they could share not only life but also an amazing communion with God and with the created world. However Adam and Eve conceive the word, twisted word of the serpent. They conceive in their heart and mind a twisted truth, the word being proclaimed to them, they received it, didn't question it, and received it from both Eve and Adam. Eve listened, reached out for the fruit, gave it to her husband Adam, stood by, didn't do a thing, yet, also ate it and both of them became sick. Death becomes part of life. So God's original plan was disrupted by the very human Disobedience and the malicious intention of the serpent. that dream had been shattered, and God said I'm going to restore this original Dream of mine, I'm going to make sure a new Union, a new marriage, a new family, I will be at the very heart of it.
Now the good Lord shows up fulfilling his dream. Letting Mary know the word is going to be part of her flesh. Asking Mary to give him the very Humanity he has given her. "I want you to conceive the word, the word that I speak, not the word of the serpent". I want you to be new Eve; I want you to conceive my only begotten son. Fascinating, in contrast to what Eve had done, she listened without questioning, she listened with acceptance, and our Blessed Mother listened to the word of the Angel, asking the good Lord "how could this be? I have no man, I have no relation with any man". "The Holy Spirit who overshadows you and the child will be conceived, will be called the son of the most high". and my brothers and sisters, now Mary ,pregnant with the child, Joseph didn't speak much, just like Adam didn't speak at all, wanted to divorce her quietly but the angel appeared to him. This time, he fell asleep and encountered God, and he accepted the word of the angel. Once again, he conceived in his heart the word of God. And when he woke up, he took them as his own. So my dear brothers and sisters, that is how God restored his original plan, that's how Mary Joseph and Jesus now begin to carry out that beautiful dream. Now Joseph understood, because he is now entrusted with the greatest family of all - the Holy Family: the mother of God, new Eve, and our lord, Jesus new Adam, they're a union. Their mission is now the Joseph Mission. he's being called to be the protector of the Holy Family, he's being called the guardian of this greatest dream God had, now he's being called to be the men going to protect his family. therefore, humanity from Humanity from the very wickedness and Venom of the snake.
So my father's here in this community, if you and I take a look at the world today, if we complain about how ugly, how awful the politics, how difficult our faith has become, how little people actually value our Catholic faith, and the faith that we share. Let me ask you: when is the last time we stand up for life? Let me ask you when's the last time we stand up for the sanctity of marriage? When was the last time we protected the Human family with our own sweat and blood? when is the last time we stand up against pornography? When's the last time we stand up against all these attacks on human dignity? My brothers and sisters, if we, man of Faith, fathers in the family, fail to do just that, we give in to the Temptation of the Serpent. Single out the woman, single out the mother, single out those who could not, truly could not fulfill their vocations without the presence of the father, man in the family.
The world needs you, the parish needs you, and a church needs you. Because without fathers and men in the family, men in the community, stand up for the faith, for Mary, for Jesus, for the Saints, for the spiritual children of God, we are doomed. No wonder in the United States, more and more people walk away from the faith. No wonder, here now in our community, or in the Diocese of Oakland, we used to have 500000 people going to church. What happened in the last 50 years, we only now have about 60000 people going to church? What happened with the Seminary? When we only have nine seminarians going into study to be priests. What happened now our Convent, our monasteries, our seminaries close up. Yes, we could blame priests who did not live up to their calling, we could blame on sexual scandals, we could claim on all sorts of things, but yet, but yet, my brothers and sisters, we are not the church, we are not everyone. We are only a very small fraction of the Catholic Church here. Less than .0001 percent of the total Catholic population. Where are we? So my friends, if you have a big dream, make sure our Dream aligns with the dream that God has for Humanity, God has for us, for you, and for me. Saint Joseph altered his dream, in his dream he wanted to have a normal life. but boy, Saint Joseph you get yourself a big one. Now he got to move along with it, and is okay with that. Even though he knows when you say yes to this, he's going to be suffering. Exactly the same way Mary, Joseph, and Jesus have suffered. May God bless you and I, so that this final week when we prepare for our lord Jesus arrival, we also prepare to receive the greatest dream God ever had for you and for me
很久以前，當我還是個小男孩，我的夢想是； 我想像湯姆·克魯斯一樣的有名。 我在舞台上表演了兩年多。 在社區、大學和不同的劇院中都很有名。 但今天我在這裡，證明了我的演藝生涯並不成功。 我也想成為ㄧ位像米開朗基羅那樣有名的藝術家。我學了畫畫。 不但想成為藝術家，也想成為一名建築師，我學習了建築設計。但是並沒有成為建築師。 後來在三年內完成了軟件設計的課程，成了一名軟件工程師以此為生，可是10年後，竟然是一名神父。我有很多沒有實現的夢想。現在終於明白為什麼人家說：如果你想讓天主開心的微笑，就向祂傾述你的夢想吧。 在這裡，天主真的是對我開懷大笑。 我所以談論夢想，是因為我們的主耶穌，蒙福的母親，聖若瑟，你和我，都是天主偉大夢想的一部分。
在今天的福音中，若瑟做了一個夢。 這是天主給他四個夢的第一個。他夢到了天使要他娶瑪利亞為妻，並且接受她腹中的孩子為自己的孩子。 第二個夢是天使要若瑟帶著瑪利亞和耶穌逃命到埃及。 第三個夢，天使吿訴若瑟那些要殺害他們的人已經死了，他可以從埃及領他的家庭回來。 最後一個夢指示若瑟不要住在猶大，要他帶著他的兒子和妻子到納匝肋過隱居生活。 要了解若瑟這一系列夢境的奧密，我們就必須從天主創造人類的夢想開始。 在起初，天主創造了男人和女人，人類不僅可以分享這生命，還可以與天主在樂園中面對面交談。 然而，亞當和夏娃聽了蛇的謊言，沒有質疑就接受了。夏娃伸手採了那禁果吃了，並且遞給站在一旁的亞當，也吃了，從此以後死亡就成為生命的一部分。天主偉大的夢想被人類的悖逆，和蛇的詭計所破壞。天主說：“我要恢復那原始的夢想，確保一個新的合一，新的婚姻，和一個新的家庭。我將成為這個家庭的核心”。
良善心謙的主顯現了，祂實現了天主的夢想。 天使告訴瑪利亞聖言將成為她肉身的一部分，並請求瑪利亞孕育耶穌—孕育天主的聖言，而不是蛇的謊言。我要妳成為新的夏娃，懷孕生子“。 聖母瑪利亞和夏娃的行為形成一個鮮明的對比。聖母沒有質疑，傾聽並接受了天使的話，然後她說“這怎麼可能呢？我不認識任何男人。天使回答説： “聖神要臨於祢，至高者的能力要庇廕祢，因此，那要誕生的聖者，將成為天主的兒子”。 若瑟看出聖母已經懷了孕，但他就像亞當一樣，沒說任何話。他本來想悄悄地離婚，但天使在夢中吿訴他瑪利亞懷的是天主子。他接受了。 所以當他醒來時，就收留了瑪利亞和她腹中的耶穌。 親愛的兄弟姐妹們，這就是天主重新實現祂對人類最初夢想的方式。藉著瑪利亞，若瑟，和耶穌，天主要再度實現那美麗的遠景。若瑟明白了這個偉大的家庭，聖家，已經托付給他。天主的母親、新夏娃，和我們的主耶穌，新亞當，聯合在聖家中。 聖家的使命就是若瑟的使命。 於是若瑟就被稱為天主夢想的守護者和聖家的保護者。
讓我們看看今天的世界，我們常常抱怨政治是多麼的醜陋，保持信仰是多麼的艱難，重視天主教，和其它同樣 信仰的人是多麼的少。 那麼我問你：上一次你為生命挺身而戰是什麼時候？ 上一次你為捍衛婚姻的神聖出聲是什麼時候？ 上一次你用自己的汗水和鮮血保護人類這個大家庭是什麼時候？ 上一次你站出來反對色情是什麼時候？ 兄弟姐妹們，如果我們，有信仰的人，家中的父親，做不到，那麼這個家庭就會屈服於毒蛇的誘惑中。家中的大人，男人，如果無法站出來屢行家長的責任，那麽其他家中的成員：女人，母親，以及未成年的人，根本就無法去執行天主賦予的任務。
家中的父親，社區中的男人，世界需要你，教區需要你，教會需要你。 因為沒有這位為了信仰，為了瑪利亞，為了耶穌，為了聖徒，為了天主的屬靈孩子而努力的家長，我們注定要失敗。 在美國，越來越多的人背離了信仰。 在奧克蘭教區，我們曾經有500000 人進教堂， 50 年後，我們只有60000人。神學院呢？ 我們現在只有九名修生學習成為神父。 許多修道院、神學院都關閉了。 我們可以責怪神父辜負了他們的聖召，可以責怪性醜聞，可以怪罪醜聞的賠償對教會經濟的打擊。但是，兄弟姐妹們，教會不只是神職人員，神職人員也不是所有的信友。 神職人員只是天主教會的一小部分，不到總天主教人口的 0.0001%。 我們的信仰現在到底到哪裡去了呢？ 朋友們，如果你有夢想，首先請確認這個夢想與天主的夢想一致。與天主對我們、對你、對我的夢想一致。 聖若瑟的夢想本來是做個木匠，過正常的生活。 但是天主給了他更大的夢想。於是他接受了天主的安排，向天主說“是”。 雖然他知道當你說“是”時，你必須付出代價。 瑪利亞、若瑟，和耶穌都受到同樣的考驗。 願天主保佑我們，在這將臨期的最後一週準備主耶穌的來臨，也準備接受天主賜與我們最偉大的夢想。