A Motto for Life!!!

Advent 2B
Baruch 5:1-9 / Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11 / Luke 3:1-6

Continuing its annual tradition of
holiday season billboards,
the American Atheists has
launched it’s two Christmas marketing campaigns.
One billboard campaign shows
the Oklahoma City skyline
with Santa’s sleigh flying overhead and says:
“Just like Santa Claus,
the Atheists are coming to town!”
This is in reference to the 2018
Atheist National Convention in
Oklahoma City.
And their second billboard
campaign is more interesting.
The billboard shows a traditional manger scene—
it shows the guiding star—
it shows the three Kings bringing
their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh—
and it shows Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus—
and in large distracting letters it says:
“JUST SKIP CHURCH—
IT’S ALL FAKE NEWS”!
Now I certainly don’t like the message—
Jesus is not fake news—
But I have to say it’s rather clever.
Nick Fish, the national program director for
American Atheists said,
“People are rightly skeptical
about some of the news they
see on Facebook,
hear from their family,
or are told by elected officials.”
“But too often, they don’t extend that
skepticism to their religious views.”

2

What I want to tell Nick and
what I want to everybody—
is that life is so much better with Jesus—
the world is so much better with Jesus—
and that Jesus is real—
Jesus is who He said He was.
Jesus is certainly not fake news.
You know, I went through a very
skeptical period in my life
concerning religion—
especially when it came to Christianity—
the faith I was raise in.
There was a time when I questioned everything—
I didn’t know what I believed—
I explored other religions—
When I look back—
I’m sure I would have been
categorized as an agnostic.
All of that changed, of course,
when I converted to Catholicism.
Now my initial conversion was
all based upon experience—
a real experience of Jesus and
a growing in relationship with Jesus
But after I converted—
I was introduced to the intellectual
tradition of the faith.
I was introduced to biblical scholars who
employ the same methods that historians use.
Now when this historical critical method
first came out—
the way some of the methods were employed and
with some of the presuppositions that
the scholars had—
there was much skepticism about the Jesus in the Gospels.

3

But now—now—
there has been such a resurgence of good
historical scholarship to where
when one looks at the historical data
of Jesus as a historian would—
I am convinced—
as many top-notch biblical historians are—
that Jesus is real—
and that he rose from the dead.
The resurrection is the best explanation for
the historical facts that we have.
So Jesus is no fake news—
He’s real.
Not only have I experienced Jesus—
And you have too—
the historical data just confirms
my experience of Jesus.
But it’s hard to get the message out—
there is a huge bias against religion—
and even against Christianity—
and some of that, of course,
is of our own making.
Which makes what we heard in the
Gospel today all the more important.
Which makes the mission given to John the Baptist—
Our mission—
all the more important!!!!
The mission to be the
messenger for the coming Messiah—
to be the messenger for Jesus—
to be like a voice crying out in the wilderness—
“Prepare the way of the Lord—
make straight his paths.”
How do we that?
How can we prepare the way of the Lord—
Prepare the way for Him to enter deeper into our hearts.

4

And to prepare the way for others
to experience Jesus—
and let them discover how much
better life is with Jesus—
that Jesus is no fake news.
One of our former students at the
Newman Center who has many
non-Christian friends
one day said this to me:
“My relationship with Jesus is so important—
because the truth of the matter is—
I’m the only Gospel that
some people will ever read.”
I’m the only Gospel that
some people will ever read.”
We prepare the way of the Lord—
When we live the authentic Christian life—
When people witness what a
difference Christ makes in our lives.
That’s why we have that big blue
sky where our bulletin board is—
it’s to be filled with stars—
each star representing a good deed that
we do this season of Advent—
preparing the perfect backdrop for the manger scene—
preparing the coming of Jesus.
Our board should full of stars—
full of good deeds.
Living the authentic Christian life of
self-sacrificial love—
That’s the way to prepare the way of the Lord.
Knowing that:
“I’m the only Gospel that
some people will ever read.”
Wouldn’t that be a great life motto—
A life dedicated to preparing the way of the Lord—

5

“I’m the only Gospel that
some people will ever read.”
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a life motto—
Some principle to lead and guide us throughout our lives.
Something we could put on our business card—
Or on our tombstone even—
Something to tattoo on our soul—
Something to sum up what we hope our life is all about.
When I graduated from college—
I wish someone would have pushed
me to have a good life motto—
before I started my profession.
Pope Francis recently said,
“In the Kingdom of God
no one is unemployed,
everyone is called to do their part,”
And concerning our jobs, our professions,
The Pope said,
“According to Christian tradition,
(our work) is more than a mere doing;
it is, above all, a mission,”—“a mission.”
In our work,
“we collaborate with the creative
work of God when we cultivate and preserve creation—
when we participate
in the Spirit of Jesus
in his redemptive mission—
when by our activity
we give sustenance to our families and
respond to the needs of our neighbor.”
Our work as part of God’s mission.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a life motto
that reflected that reality
about our lives as Christians.

6

I bet I know what John the Baptist’s life motto was!!!—
A life dedicated to preparing the way for the messiah—
preparing the way for Jesus.
He must increase, I must decrease. (John 3:30)
After he met Jesus—
John the Baptist was never
a self-promoter—
he became a Jesus promoter.
He must increase, I must decrease.
Isn’t that what the Christian life is all about—
Isn’t that what preparing the way for Jesus is all about!!!
I bet this was St. Paul’s life motto:
it is no longer I who live—
but Christ who lives me. (Galatians 2:20)
Talk about showing the
world that Jesus isn’t fake news!!!
And the saints have so many wonderful life mottos—
Preparing the way of the Lord mottos.
St. Therese has my favorite non-biblical life motto.
I desire to love Jesus and make Him loved.
She prepared the way of the Lord,
Making straight his paths—
By loving Jesus and making Him loved.
What’s your life lotto—
What’s your “prepare the way of the Lord” motto?
Go ahead and borrow one—
Maybe:
I’m the only Gospel that
some people will ever read.

7

He must increase, I must decrease.
it is no longer I who live—
but Christ who lives me.
I desire to love Jesus and make Him loved.
Or make one up for yourself—
A life motto—
An “I’m going to show the world that
Jesus is no fake news” motto—
A “life is better with Jesus motto.”
“My work is part of the mission of God” motto
And fill up the dark sky with
the light of good deeds.
Because of all of us are called—
just like John the Baptist—
to be a voice crying out in the wilderness—
to a messenger for the Messiah—
to be a messenger for Jesus.

Holy Spirit 12/09-10/2017

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