Archive for November, 2003

December 2003

Chaplain’s Counsel

Dear Brother Knights,

December is a special month for our Advent preparations and the celebration of Christmas. We remember that the proper posture of the Christian believer is always to be ready for an encounter with Christ. Our worship, moral life, acts of charity, and so much else identify us as kindred to our Lord. Advent stresses for us a two-fold movement: ourselves as pilgrims voyaging to the promised shore and our Lord coming to realize his kingdom. May we KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS in everything we say and do.

The stories of the Advent and Christmas seasons and our many customs and images represent a valuable opportunity to offset the working agnosticism against the truth that infects the younger generation. Christmas is more than Rudolph, Frosty and the Grinch. We find much suffering and evil in the world. There is goodness in people, nevertheless, but it lacks the definition of Christian boundaries and illumination. Perhaps more so than past generations, the young seem to have a pervasive hatred against discrimination. We can work with that. However, without the guidance of Judeo-Christian faith, it leads to a soft tolerance willing to allow almost anything. The only condition is, “do what you want so long as it does not affect me.” The Second Vatican Council urged that the Church engage the world; instead, there is little in-depth engagement with the positions of others. Real communication and involvement with the world will necessitate a dialogue where there will be real resistance. The Gospel of Life is at the center of our Christian holiday message: every child is a reflection of the Christchild. The Gospel shows us what “good” really means and brings to the forefront, the sanctity and dignity of human life.

We live in a time where we will have to re-evangelize and re-catechize our own people. Otherwise, our people who remain Catholic out of habit or duty or status would only be parroting back the message of a secular world and a culture of death. When the substance of faith is replaced with soft tolerance, the missionary is labeled a bigot and the most meager Christian believer is appraised a fanatic. During the seasons of Advent and Christmas there are decorations and rituals that celebrate the core of our faith in the Incarnation. Catechumens begin their journey to Easter. It is also a season for us to reappraise our faith and our willingness to live for Christ. Christ and his saving work: his suffering, death and resurrection— these are the most important truths in all reality. Jesus is born so that he might die. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. These are not empty slogans, but definitions for Christ and his importance for us. While salvation is a mystery, its heart is Jesus the Way. Herod could tolerate no contender to the throne. Later Pilate and his modern day pupils might echo his words, “What is truth?” We know that our Lord came into the world to reveal the face of God. He is also the Life, showing us both the meaning of life and how to live. He gives us a share in his life. These things are neither optional nor disposable. God reveals just how much he loves us.

May we participate in this love and experience his life forever,
Fraternally yours,
Father Joe Jenkins

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