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Urgent Preparations

The 1st Sunday of Advent

There are a lot of preparations going on now that all the turkey has been eaten. [This/Last] morning I overheard someone at the bank talking about how two of the strands didn’t work and they have to buy new ones, later in the day I looked out my window to see a neighbor wrestling with garland and red bow ties for their fence, and even in my own garage I noticed the outdoor nativity set had been taken down from the attic and set aside to be ready to go.

This is all well and good, but this is secondary. The Gospel tells us not to get distracted by the things of daily life. There is something more urgent to do for you and me.

As the Advent season begins in just a few moments will bless and light the Advent wreath. The candles remind us that we are approaching the feast of Christmas. We hear the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading and have visions of the story of Christ’s birth off in the distance, and we remember that this was a historical event, the birth of Christ all those centuries ago. We prepare our hearts and look forward to hearing that truth of our faith and the events that surround it.

This is well and good, but this is secondary. I hope you still do that, we ought to meditate on the story of salvation history! But in addition to that there is something more urgent for you and me to do.

The Gospel today at the start of Advent turns our minds to the return of Christ. “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. […] at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Each of us as Christians must live with that reality in our minds, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the prayer of the mass right after the Our Father, literally word-for-word something that we pray for at every mass.

This is well and good, but this is secondary. You must still do that! You must keep your mind on the return of Christ if you want to call yourself Christian. But even as you do so, there is something more urgent for you and me to do.

So what is so urgent? What do you and I have to do in this Advent time?

If the Lord became radically present to your life — here, now, this moment — would you be surprised? Would you be ready? Because Christ wants to enter your life, he desires to be present in a way that is real to you. Our faith, our church, our scriptures, our sacraments… it’s all there to help you open your heart to know the presence of God. Not only as a memory of the distant past. Not only as a hope of the distant future. Here and now, the presence of our Lord. Are you awake? Are you waiting for him? That is what Advent is really about, stirring up the desire and the expectation that Christ can be present to us. Knowing that he was present before and will be present again, we build up our longing to truly know him and seek to have some share of that presence in this present and everyday life. So take this time of preparation seriously. Persist in your prayer life and the time that you offer to our Lord. Open up your life to God, or if those words just pricked your conscience put some new effort into your prayer life. Do some spiritual reading, put your energy into these Sunday masses and really lift up your hearts to the Lord.

“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”

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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.

Published inHomilies