Father Moreno asked the congregation to meditate on these three (3) images during Advent.
These are true stories.
1. A seven (7) year old boy in New Jersey was asked by his mother how he was going to dress up for Halloween and he told her it was a secret. On Halloween he went to school dressed in his costume. The principal called his parents and told them that he was being expelled because his Halloween costume was offensive; the school board was offended, the school administration was offended, the teachers, the parents and the students were all offended because his was dressed like Jesus. The boy said he wanted to be like Jesus. We have to offend, to let others see Jesus in our work, in our lifestyle. To embrace Jesus is offensive to many people. Are we like that little boy in New Jersey: free, innocent, loving, a child of God? Do we want to be like Jesus?
2. Father Moreno went home for Thanksgiving to Carlsbad and there was a windstorm. His sister and her family had raked the leaves that fell from the pecan trees and they left the pile of leaves to put in a trash bag for the next day. We are like the autumn leaves, we can look colorful, bright and enticing but the autumn leaves crumble, they are brittle and are easily blown away. They are only good for the goats to jump in and eat them. Sin is like those autumn leaves, sin looks colorful, bright and enticing, but sin is really brittle, cracks and crumbles and when we are in sin we are easily blown away. Don’t be eaten up by sin. His sister also has a maple tree and those leaves are green. We need to stay green and fresh and alive when we are watered by the coming of Christ in our life. Jesus says, “I am the Vine and you are the branches”.
3. Father Moreno was in college in 1970 and he had to take an art class, so he took a pottery class. He had to knead the clay to get rid of the air bubbles, then he had to throw the clay into the center of the wheel and his hand became an instrument of art forming the clay into a pot. God is the Potter and we are the clay. Jesus forms us, shapes us in His Image. Father Moreno learned that he had to center the clay in the middle of the wheel and we have to center ourselves in Christ.
One last true story:
There was a little girl around four (4) years old and she would always wave to Father Moreno and say, “Hi, Jesus!” Her parents would get after her and tell her that he wasn’t Jesus, he was Father Moreno. Father Moreno told the parents to let her continue to say what she was saying because she would soon outgrow it. Father would look forward to seeing this little girl and hear her say to him, “Hi, Jesus!” One day she saw him and said, “Hi, Barney!” We have to laugh during Advent. We have to allow Jesus to penetrate our heart and make us merry and we have to take ourselves lightly, especially during this chaotic, confusing and consumerist time of the season.