Advent 2018

Baruch 5:1-9; Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11; Lk. 3:1-6
A voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!”
John, son of Zachariah, was born a priest within the comfort and prestige of the Jerusalem Temple. He gives up his privilege and chooses to live in poverty at the edge of the desert. Growing older, I wonder if John left Jerusalem with disillusionment from the corruption of Political and Religious leaders he observed abusing their power? He seemed to have a lot of anger- at the crowds (Lk 3:7); the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Mt. 3:7); and the powerful/dangerous (Mt. 14:3-4). While having compassion for the humble, tax collectors, and soldiers (Lk. 3:12-14). He passionately loved Israel.
Human nature doesn’t change. I get disappointed and appalled by the actions of leaders and institutions I’ve trusted, who have protected their honor and their positions at the expense of the people they claimed to serve. I ask, “Where’s the love?“
John called for repentance and people flocked to the wilderness to hear him preach. The season of Advent calls us to repentance as a transition to discovering God in our midst. If God is in our midst, do we feel God’s presence? Many of us do not feel that presence. Why not?
The book of Revelation and the Gospel of John may hold the key. The “sin” of the Ephesians was “Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first … (Rev. 2: 4-5).” The sin was to stop loving and the cure was to love again. It is the problem the Church has faced for 2000 years.
John’s Gospel gives us the commandment to love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you (13:34). Then the Gospel tells us, God will give us an Advocate (Holy Spirit) who will be with us always (14:16).
The heart of the Christian life is to love. My experience with violence and gang members is that a life dedicated to love receives the accompaniment of God

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About Brothers and Sisters of Love

The Mission of Brothers and Sisters of Love is to be a visible sign of Jesus’ Love, Peace, and Presence to the poor in gang-infested neighborhoods in Chicago and to be a bridge between gangs & the poor with the Church. This is done by: 1. Loving everyone 2. Trusting in God 3. Forgiving everyone everything 4. Never being afraid.
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