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November 21, 1997     The Message
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November 21, 1997

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1, 1997 _. The Message :--for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 :! By FATHER PAUL J. SCHMIDT '  ;!- Catholic News Service :!i Do we have to believe that at his second / i' ming, Jesus will arrive riding: the clouds i AePll in his ch'arit ? u  re is a wealth of apocalyptic imagery ! wetheCan draw upon. But if we et cau htt literal meaning of these ffnagesas itirely .: on, We may miss the point In thea ocaa 2mia,, L p . yptlc imagery, the second vt . unlike the first comin in the [umitity of -'- g 0mia me stable, or the Lord's quiet = - 8 !n grace throughout the centuries and flashy. Even the lanets Stars-wiP L_ " P . , ue rearranged. At the second saints will go marching in, and to be among them. revels in such imagery, espe- - It has a wealth of Old ew Testament passages to select from who knew oppression and drew upon this imagery, fol- le, in order to her- coming of a kingdom not world. But this would be more than conquest, more than an earthly Spirit of Jesus would come to of the earth, to unite ail peo- LOne family, the body of Christ. are We to Understand apocalyptic know is not a warrior. He around. He does not Underfoot. He does not by love. He rules by grace. really apocalyptic revelation. of jesus is absolutely revolu- not the way of the war- It is the way of of the cross. of the world were to stop reverse the way they have ughout human histo- lCtually Would be much more stars falling from heaven or the world upside down ....... great floods and earthquakes. Governments would totter. Econom- ic systems would collapse. Crime would end. Greed would become obso- lete. Hatred and discrimination would vanish. Would we have to cancel the Super Bowl?! It is difficult for us to imagine such a thing happening. Yet, really, it already has happened. The God who came as a helpless infant in a crib, as an insignifi- cant carpenter in Nazareth, as a crucified itinerant preacher on Calvary  and as the risen Lord of Easter -- is the God who turns the world upside down. We do not need to look to a militaristic future to find the triumphant Son of Man. He is already here among us. The great upheaval already has begun. And, as we follow in the footsteps of  the crucified and risen one, the transfor- , . marion continues. .  ,. : ..: We do not accomplish this by domi- nating the world but by serving it. This is the strange and wonderful revelation Jesus is for us. Some day the work will be complete. The peaceful warfare will be oven Along the way we will be tempted to resort to the old-fashioned kind of battle in order to root out the enemies of the kingdom. But I imagine these efforts will be retreats, delaying the final victory. Perhaps we will learn to accept and fol- : . " low Jesus' way a little bit better this The Jesus we know is not a warrior. He does not shove people around. Advent. Then watch the sparks fly! He does not trample his enemies underfoot," explains Father Paul ]. ' chmidt. "He conquers by love. He rules by grace." i Father Schmidt is the director of priests .... -- CNS photo of George Rouault's "Ecco Homo" t personnel for the Diocese of Oakland, Calif. "Divine" .............................. i ...... : Continued from page 8 ed an early Christian hymn to that effect: "Who, tho he was in the form of God did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, n the Marketplace orvee.k:s Discuss, on Point: J,,u, trYou r "real world," what does being Godlike mean? Selected "I ResPonses From Read . , -",pro  -. ers: YOtl re On k Oably being able to see the goodness in other people. If you can do that, me rOark" "h -- Pat Warrell, Elizabethtown, Ky. en You see the chance ttY, t be d ...... to help someone, you do. You try to be forgwmg. You Uag to the:'mnchng. You try to share your faith by praying for others and lis- ,r COncerns with compassion." "It  -- Karen Logsdon, Orlando, Fla. elderl eans helping those I am and m arhcular the ,. Y, Who I fe ^, who are less fortunate than -- " p " 'Care.),, t are SOmewhat neglected in our society today. (I work in an adult .  Paula Poggenpohl, Omaha, Neb. "Look at Where God thinks you should be and then.., try to live up to that ideal." Jerry Pierson, Lincoln, Ill. At age 80, in rn- - 8i ees s a,,,,' y real world, being Godlike means having love, patience, for- --,u COmpassion.,, I.ed .,,_  Catherine R. Gagliardy, Marietta, Ga. . 41 U,,' uur Voice. 1 ,tlffillg.l=os;dition "v, :m,,,,_'r= asks: How would you advise someone you know well who " " ' "vashinet .... .io possmle publication, please write: l-ram rowe. zz tourm 6 ,,,, u.t;. 20017.1100. taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross" (2:6-8). out Jesus, a world bereft of his presence. Nor can I imagine a world without a solid hope for Jesus' coming in glory. With the early Christians, my Advent prayer is: "Come, Lord Jesus!" No, I cannot imagine a world with- Father LaVerdiere is a Scripture scholar and senior editor of Emmanuel maa:ine. 0 Food for thought . I should feel joy when the first candle in our pafish's Advent wreath is light- ed. But a little voice inside me says, "Oh, no! It's Advent, and I'm not ready -- again." It's not that I'm alarmed that Christmas is getting closer. It's that I believe I need to slow life down in order to take Advent in. But ordinary, work life and homelife in early December tend to set their own fast pace. Which leads me to conclude that it is better to observe Advent in a low key than not to observe it at all. What might something low-key involve at home? Perhaps a simple wreath with four candles, one to light each evening at mealtime the first week, two the second week, etc.; perhaps choosing some Advent Mass readings to use as part of mealtime prayer (perhaps Isaiah 40:1- 11 from a Dec. 9 reading this year; or Jeremiah 23:5-8 from a Dec. 18 reading). With any luck the readings will stimulate a family discussion about the kind of king to come on Christmas. The point is to do something simple at home to simply remind ourselves day by day that it is Advent. David Gibson Edito Faith Alive!