Ordinarily I like to be well prepared for things, but for some reason Christmas gifts are always a last minute scramble for me. I have to admit that in years past I have been that guy running out on the morning of Christmas Eve scrambling to find the last roll of wrapping paper any store has, usually something ugly and four times the price because they know I don’t have any other options. But this year I am prepared. I have all my gifts for my family and friends and they’re even wrapped, ready to go! It is a good feeling, to be prepared for once for Christmas.
Advent is a time of preparation, but what I just talked about doesn’t count. Advent is not about getting gifts ready, it’s not about getting the house decorated, it’s not even really about having that holiday spirit and cheer. Advent is about God coming into our lives in a new and unpredictable way. Just as two thousand years ago God became man and took on human flesh and walked amongst us, so to in our lives here today we must expect that something real, something incredible is going to happen. In Advent we remember that we expect our hearts to have a burning within them and we long to see that happen. And so last week we were told to watch. The master is coming so watch and be alert. It stirred up that longing by telling us that something is missing and we need to wait for it. And truly we were made for something more than the brokenness of this world. We were made for life eternal and the joy of God’s presence, and we watch to see that in our lives.
So now that we have the longing and yearning for something more, now we must prepare. John the baptist tells us the refrain of Advent, prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. He reminds us that humanity was separated from God because of our own action. Like I said, we were meant for something more than this, but we were the ones who took a different path than God pointed to. And even as individuals… you and I both know that a dozen times a week we hold God at a distance. We fail to think of Him, we fail to think of others, and we contribute to the brokenness of our lives. John tells us to repent. If we are going to welcome Christ into our lives in a real and meaningful sense, we must realize that we pushed him out in a real and meaningful sense. Now is the time to acknowledge that we need him.
I encourage you this week to act on the Gospel and be like those people who heard John the Baptist and came in repentance for their sins. Most excellent above all other things are the opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation, especially the communal services we are having this week. But even more fundamentally, examine your hearts. Find that separation and that distance from God and tell Him you are ready to find Him in that absence again.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.