Third Sunday of Advent - Fr. Pete Iorio
Tercer Domingo de Adviento - Padre Pedro Iorio
Diciembre 12, 2020 - 7:00 PM
December 13, 2020 - 8:30 AM

Audio Recording

Grabación de Audio

One of the things I loved doing when I was pastor that had a Catholic school was to preach to the children. Sometimes it helped to have visuals. Jesus used examples all the time. And today, in that spirit of being childlike and open to the simplicity of God, I am going to give you two visuals. The first is Velcro. My alb has Velcro so that these pieces stick together, and so I don’t trip. And the second thing is a pan made with Teflon. I used this last night to cook a hamburger for Monsignor. The burger slid right off the pan onto the plate. And It was very easy to clean up. Teflon is famous for being a material that things don’t stick to.

Let us look today at the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. It is one of the oldest writings of Christian literature, if not the oldest. Thessalonica is a community in northern. It was written around the year 50 AD less than 20 years after the death and resurrection of the Lord. The first three things that Paul says are: rejoice always. This is hard to do. How do we feel joy in the midst of a pandemic? How do we feel joy and rejoice over economic hardship? How do we rejoice when we are not meeting and connecting with our family and friends as we like to do during the holidays? The second thing he says is to pray without ceasing. This also is very hard to do. If I am working on a project, I’m really not praying. If I am at work or at school, I’m studying or thinking and I’m really not praying. How is it possible to pray without ceasing? The third thing he says is, in all circumstances, give thanks. For this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

According to certain studies, when we are negative and blaming and complaining, and fearful, our mind wraps around it like Velcro. For the most part, we are all attracted to the negative. Look at what sells in the news. When we hear bad breaking news, and we want more of the details and then focus on it for hours. You get some juicy gossip about somebody and the same thing happens. The human mind is attracted to the negative. Yesterday, my siblings and I were worried about our father because he had not responded to texts for over a day. And he is always texting us about games. My fear kicked in, and I had to consciously focus on the Lord and trust that all would work out. It turns out, he was out with a friend. I thanked God for taking care of him.

On the other hand, when there is some really good news, we may acknowledge it and it goes away without lasting effect. The good is like Teflon… it easily slides off. One example of this may be choosing to come to Mass every week. We have to deliberately choose the positive. I have to do that many times. When something is bothering me and when I’m irritable, it is so hard to get out of the negative.

There is good news to break the cycle. We call it the Velcro Teflon theory. When we have a positive thought, in praise of God, just pure gratitude … to give thanks to God in all things. And if you do not consciously hold onto that positive thoughts for at least 15 seconds, it does not imprint on the brain. It slides off like Teflon.

If we do not consciously pray, Paul says at the end, God will accomplish it. I don’t think you can do it just by willpower by saying “I’m gonna have positive thoughts today.” It is a surrendering. It is allowing a love inside you that is bigger than you. I have to consciously choose the positive – To discipline myself to let go of the negative and fearful thoughts in order to give thanks and praise to God who is present in every moment.
The news is always so negative and focused on a scandal. The poverty and the suffering of people become these day can be overwhelming. There really is a lot to be sad about. So we must choose to rejoice. GAUDETE.
This is excellent Advent advice.

Make straight way of the Lord who is always the Good News of God and wants to be born again and again in our midst.