Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday In Advent 3

The second reading of this morning's Divine Office (2 Peter 1:1-11), for me, complements and summarizes a workable response to the question posed by Luke's Gospel yesterday, the Third Sunday of Advent. There, the people, puzzled and confused at John's challenge to "bear the fruit of repentance", called out: "What, then, should we do?" The writer of 2nd Peter says:

"Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

How precious did that grace appear when we first believed, says the old hymn, Amazing Grace: a faith undeserved, yet given freely to us by the One who created us, through Jesus, "the One who saves" out of sheer love.  

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

In knowing Jesus, sharing his identity and life, we're equipped with everything needed to live, in the fullest sense, and to share the holiness of Godself. God's promises, God's "tender mercies" are unfailingly given to us every day of our lives, so that we may live in the light rather than the darkness.  

For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.  For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.

Notice the deliberate progression of the elements which strengthen faith: goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection, love. Imagine a world wherein each person was making "every effort", intentionally, to think, speak and act according to those principles!  

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble.  For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you."

Only you and I can validate the free pass of being selected and called by name to enter the wonderland of the reign of God.

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