Advent: Day 6

Daily Office Lections: Amos 5:1-17; Jude 1-16; Matthew 22:1-14

Advent is a season of contrast, namely, between the darkness and the light. Moreover it is a call to "cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light." We are children of the light, and so we must walk as such, even in the midst of a dark age.

And it's getting darker...literally. Each day, there is less and less light as we approach the winter solstice on December 21st. Thus, the Advent candles should remind us to walk in the light; they should give us hope (particularly the first advent candle which signifies hope). The burning candles should remind us that "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). And they should also remind us that we are on the night's watch, waiting and looking for the King, and that he will hold us to account when he returns.

The short book of Jude (the relative of Jesus) is a sobering reminder that our Lord is indeed coming again to judge the living and the dead, therefore, we need to eschew the examples of the unfaithful Israelites who crossed the Red Sea, of Cain, of those living in Sodom and Gomorrah, and of all false teachers. Instead, by grace, we must faithfully follow our Lord and "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints."

The Church received the fullness of the faith at Pentecost. That's what it means that it was delivered once for all. It is of divine origin. Even the Apostle Paul, when proclaiming the Gospel to the Corinthians notes that, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received" (1 Corinthians 15:3, emphasis mine). Thus, the Faith is not something that we mold according to our worldview or sensibilities or sensualities (see Jude 1:4), but rather it molds us into the likeness of Christ.

Jude is bringing the heat. He's not mincing words. He's telling the Church how it is. He's speaking the truth in love. The exhortations that he's giving are unto life. And it's because God loves us and wants us to have life in him, that he calls us to repentance through the prophets and writers of Scripture. So in the areas of our lives that we have strayed from the Lord, let us run into the Father's arms for forgiveness and healing so that we may greet the Lord with joy when he arrives on Christmas, on the altar, and at the end of the age.

Fr. Matt