Finding God on Gannon’s campus

Welcome back from the short Thanksgiving break and Happy New Year!  That’s right, the new liturgical year is upon us, and so starts the Advent season, which begins the church’s New Year.

For those who attend Catholic Mass, you have been introduced to the new liturgical procedures and the responses that began Sunday.

The Office of Campus Ministry has done a fine job in implementing the new responses and changes throughout the past months.  The new liturgical changes are an effort to translate the closest possible word choices to the original Latin.

I suppose whether you agree or disagree, like or dislike the new implementations, we can probably agree on one issue – the new translation is awkward and has a taste of historical elitism that has been the subject of much discussion and debate.

One example of a change is the use of the word “Consubstantial,” which was one that the early church used at the Council of Nicea to successfully defend against the Aryanism heresy.

The many hours that were spent in an attempt to get the closest possible translation to the original Latin text must have involved many grueling, sleepless nights.

Thanks to those who put in many hard hours in good faith and have restored us to the original text. Perhaps if we continue to restore the original text and/or earliest traditions we will have more changes coming in the future.

I will be patient as the priest learns the new prayers, just as I hope father will be patient with me. I blurted out “and also with you” at least three times during Mass, instead of “and with your spirit,” which is now the proper response. Sorry, father.

But as we stumble, Advent doesn’t. For Catholics, Advent is the time to anticipate the arrival of the Christ.  The prophecies that were told for generations are coming to fulfillment in the word made flesh; the incarnation of the child Jesus is the moment in human history that the creator of the stars becomes human to restore us in God’s eyes.

The theme of “staying awake” is one that rings loudly in the Advent season throughout the Old Testament readings.  The ironic thing is that the same theme of “staying awake” is one we, as students, are very familiar as finals week approaches.

We are called to be vigilant for the second coming of Christ. We are called to be on watch against the appointed time when the master will return. The arrival of Christ who leads us to our salvation and our ability to stay awake will defend us against the drowsiness that causes the lack of energy while we wait on guard.

Well, I can tell you that being awake isn’t easy for me after long study sessions while big exams, labs and papers are to be completed.  All that and I get to see the results after the semester is completed in the form of a grade, a GPA, that will allow us to continue our education or find a good job. We are able to see the results and that keeps us focused.

But what happens when we cannot see the results and are left with 2,000 years of waiting with nothing happening. Generation after generation and no one comes, Jesus fails to return, but should we become complacent?

That is what the Jewish people during Jesus’ time experienced. Prophet after prophet told of a king who was to come and save the world from its mess, wars, corruption, crime and senseless violence.

Then one day this apparently crazed man was in the desert yelling about how “the time is near” and “to repent before it is too late.”

John the Baptist knew the Christ child before they were born. When Mary visited Elizabeth, John’s mother, the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb.

This time of preparation, Advent, is rich with the message of faith, hope and love.

The message you and I bring to each other in our everyday lives is a message of faith, hope, and love that also transcends time.

Be awake for each other and let us help each other prepare for the test.

ROB LOPEZ

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