Sunday, November 29, 2020

A homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent

Hurry up and wait!  Ever happen to you?  Then you've never been to a doctor's appointment, or attended a big concert or sporting event or stood in a long line at Wal-Mart.  Yep, seems like we spend a lot of time hurrying up to wait.

As people of faith are we waiting and watching?  And waiting and watching for what, or who?

Advent seems to sneak up on us every year, yet here it is.  Some of us may actually have been waiting for Advent.  And now that it is here, we have plenty to watch.  The liturgical colors have changed so now we are watching the Advent color of purple.  We watch every Sunday in Advent as we light the Advent wreath; Advent is our “happy new year” in the Church.  Advent is the time we set aside for both preparing for the Christmas celebration we are hurrying up and waiting for but also a reminder of the second coming, which we too should all be waiting for but probably not so much, certainly not in a hurry.

Our Advent celebration this year brings a change from the Sunday Gospel readings of Matthew, which we finished last Sunday, to Mark which we just heard proclaimed today.  In our Gospel we hear a direct command from Jesus: Be watchful, be alert! Watch! Jesus, who taught often in parables from Matthew’s Gospel, offers a short parable today from St. Mark.  He talks to us about a homeowner traveling, the servants and the gatekeeper.  The servants are left to work around the home and the gatekeeper is specifically ordered to watch!  And what is the gatekeeper watching for?  The answer: the return of the homeowner.  And we hear one warning in this short parable; don’t be asleep when the homeowner returns; no, be prepared, stay alert, be vigilant.  Watch!

As we hear this Gospel we may find ourselves asking the question, what does this have to do with the coming of the baby Jesus?  How is this a story of Advent or the coming Christmas celebration?  Well, perhaps it is not; instead this is a story of the second coming of Jesus.  Yes, Advent is about the preparation of our Christmas celebration, where we rejoice in the birth of the babe of Bethlehem, the incarnation of the Word of God.  But Advent is also an important reminder about the second coming of Jesus.  In fact, during Advent, the theme of the Gospels for the first two weeks of Advent is always about His second coming. 

The Church is the household and Jesus is the lord of the house; just as He truly is Lord of Heaven & earth.  The servants are all of us; the members of His Church.  We are to do the work of His Church while we sojourn here on earth; being watchful and alert to His second coming.  The gatekeeper Jesus refers to is our own souls, helping us to be prepared and not fall asleep as we await the Master’s coming(His second coming).  In this Gospel Jesus is preparing us for His second coming by foretelling of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple; an event that did occur around the year 70 A.D.

How does the Master want us to prepare in this first week of Advent?  What can we do today, and in the next few days to be alert; to watch?  Our first opportunity is right here among us today as we celebrate being truly present to His Word and to His Real Presence.  Do we stay alert and watchful by keeping our focus on Advent, realizing that Christmas is a holy season yet to come, not the ho-ho holidays already here; as the world tries to convince us.  Does our family celebrate with an Advent wreath in our homes?  What a wonderful reminder of the season of Advent and help support our ministries of charity at the same time.  And finally, can we remain alert and watchful by doing something tangible for our brother and sister?  Did you know that while we support the area food bank, the many food items you bring to church are used to help feed people who show up at our door hungry and in need of help.  I've learned firsthand recently that hardly a day goes by without someone presenting themselves for a little help.  Your thoughtfulness with food donations provides that help.  And this is just but one example.  Are you familiar with I-give Catholic, an opportunity to make donations this Tuesday for all things Catholic.  St. Jane will be there, waiting hopefully for your donation which will help support our youth ministry.  

Yes, Advent is a lot about waiting and watching and not just hurrying up and waiting.  Remember, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the newborn King of Christmas, but our our hope and joy coming with glory for our salvation

Don't be asleep, be awake and Watch!

No comments:

Post a Comment