Gentle­ness re­tains strength with love

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - NEWS - FA­THER ROBERT TUCKER

John the Bap­tist is our man of the week. He is gen­tle and quick to the point, as he states, “Pre­pare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Ev­ery val­ley shall be filled, and ev­ery moun­tain and hill shall be made low. The wind­ing roads shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth and all flesh shall see the sal­va­tion of God.”

Th­ese pro­claimed words of John are to give us a chal­lenge and a re­spon­si­bil­ity to gen­tly, but force­fully, use th­ese short win­ter days of Ad­vent to work in the name of the Lord. Where in you do you need to make some­time cur­rent and straight? Do you need the Sacra­ment of Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion? Where in you or in your re­la­tion­ship with God or neigh­bor do anger, is­sues of re­sent­ment or jeal­ously need to be filled in with un­der­stand­ing and love? What moun­tains have you made in the past year that need to be taken down so there is an open heart for the Lord to en­ter on Christ­mas? All of us have wind­ing roads of self­ish­ness, pride, anger, jeal­ousy and con­trol, that need to be straight­ened out and smooth so that Je­sus, the Mes­siah, the Price of Peace, may en­ter in on Christ­mas.

He does not speak with anger or like a burst­ing flame, as­sert­ing and try­ing to crush oth­ers. He could have done all th­ese things as he was dressed dif­fer­ently, lived alone as a her­mit in the desert and was a quiet but rather odd type of man of prayer. He may have even been a meek man, but not soft or sen­ti­men­tal, but strong in both what he be­lieved and how he wanted ac­tion.

John echoes the prophetic tra­di­tions of try­ing to move peo­ple from sin to con­ver­sion and to fol­low this new man on the block, Je­sus Christ. The mo­tive and power be­hind John’s gentle­ness is strength and love — love of the other, for whose sake I re­main con­vinced, in gentle­ness and strength, to ask you to fol­low Je­sus Christ.

Only a strong per­son can be gen­tle, be­cause gentle­ness re­strains strength with love. Whether it is strength of body, which could de­stroy phys­i­cally, or strength of will, that could crush vol­un­tar­ily or strength of mind which could dev­as­tate in­tel­lec­tu­ally. But the real mo­tive or power be­hind gentle­ness is al­ways love! Love of the other for whose sake I re­strain my­self. The two qual­i­ties that need to be prac­ticed, re­mem­bered and lived are gentle­ness with weak­ness and strength with gentle­ness.

Sal­va­tion is God’s af­fir­ma­tion that He loves all equally. It is his pri­mary mo­ti­va­tion for cre­ation and for send­ing His Son, Je­sus Christ to the World to save it. Through­out their lives, Je­sus, Mary, Joseph, and so many of the apos­tles and dis­ci­ples showed and lived the strength and love of gentle­ness. That is our chal­lenge this week of Ad­vent.

Gentle­ness is not that dif­fi­cult. When in doubt, think of Moses as he was flee­ing from the Egyp­tians and came to the Red Sea and won­dered what to do. God said do not worry NOW, for I will part the sea and you and your peo­ple will cross over safely but not the Egyp­tians.

Moses replied, “Well, once we are across, what will be the prob­lem?”

God re­sponded, “Then you will have to file an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment on the other side!”

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