2 Sun Advent - Yr C - 2018
Ss. Peter & Paul, Danville
Ummm…did you really preach about torpedoes in the water and submarine movies to start off the Advent season? This is the conversation I had with myself as I was sitting down to finish up this homily. Why yes, yes I did preach about Crimson Tide last week for the 1st Sunday of Advent. Ummmmm…
Maybe you better make sure folks don’t think you said Jesus was coming at them like a torpedo in the water…’cause I don’t think that’s what you meant. Of course that’s not what I meant! I only used that as an example of the difference between a warning and an alarm. Warnings are designed to frighten us and often leave us running away – but alarms are different. Alarms make sure we wide awake, paying attention, and doing the things we need to be doing to be OK. Like the alarm that goes off when a torpedo is in the water makes sure all the sailors are where they’re supposed to be doing what they’ve been trained to do so they can be ready for what comes next – so they can be safe.
Oh…OK…that makes more sense.
Right! Alarms give us hope – they make us alert and ready – Advent is an alarm, not a warning. We know what to do – we know what’s coming next – and we know if we’re paying attention and living the way Jesus taught us then there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of. That’s why Jesus told us to ‘Stand erect and raise your heads! Because your redemption is at hand!’ There’s nothing to be afraid of it we’re paying attention, alert and ready, if we’re doing what we’ve been taught by Jesus to do.
Advent is our great, hope-filled alarm calling us to alert action: Stand up! Make Way! He’s Coming! To You! (Let’s try that – Stand up! Make Way! He’s Coming! To You!) That’s right – Advent is about hope, courage, and readiness. There’s nothing to run away from if we’re alert and ready…and if we’re not alert and ready…
Well…if we’re not alert and ready, it’s time to get that way. Not out of fear – but out of hope and certainty and courage – because we believe if we’re alert and making ready, our salvation is assured: Stand Pp & Make Way!
Up Jerusalem! Stand upon the heights and look East toward the rising Sun – a new day is dawning! Jesus is coming! God is leading us to joy by the light of His glory, with his mercy and justice for company! Our readings this week pick up right where we left off last week – calling us to attention so we not distracted; filling us with courage and hope. Jesus is coming – but there’s nothing to be afraid of if we’re alert and making ready – if we’re trying. If we’re trying St. Paul encourages us even more: I am confident – I agree with St. Paul…and I want you to be encouraged too, so listen closely, OK? – I am confident that if you’re paying attention, not drowning in the anxieties of daily life or drunk on whatever deadens your senses or leaves you spiritually unaware or asleep – I am confident that if you’re alert, paying attention, and trying to get ready…that the One who has begun this good work in you will bring it to completion!
Advent isn’t a season of fear and trembling. It’s a season of anticipation, of courageously standing alert with our heads up, confident and unafraid… because we’re getting ready for Jesus to come!
But are we? That’s the question, isn’t it? Are we alert? Or are we so busy with our so-called Christmas preparations that we’re not really paying attention to what and Who is soon to come at all? Are we making ready for Jesus? Or are we so focused on shopping & wrapping paper & bows & cards & family & friends & parties & cooking & celebrating that we’re aren’t really looking for Jesus at all?
Have you ever seen that TV show called Hoarders? In every episode someone who struggles with compulsive hoarding is given the chance to shake loose of all the things they’ve packed into their homes that are, literally, ruining their lives. Whole rooms of their homes can’t be entered and are literally piled floor to ceiling with ‘stuff’. Their homes are so full – floor to ceiling, wall to wall, that they barely have any room to walk – just one tiny little path to get to the toilet and the bed. There is – literally – no room in their lives to breathe – no room in their lives for other people – no room in their lives for anything. In every episode, the very first thing that has to be done is the same: they have to make way. Clear out some of the ‘stuff’ – make a path. Make a path so they can move toward healing. Make a path so those who are trying to help can get to them. The very first thing that has to be done is to make way.
We’re not hoarders, Father…
OK. But is there room in your life for Christmas? Is there room in your life for Jesus? Was there room in your life to get to a holy day Mass to celebrate Immaculate Conception…or was life too packed, the schedule too full, too many things crammed into life to make way to celebrate Mary? Is there room in your life for 30 minutes of prayer? 15 minutes? 10? Prayer here in the Church before the Blessed Sacrament – or during your car ride home from school or to the mall? Is there room in your life to pray together as a family while you’re running between this practice and that competition and shopping for him and having supper with her? Is there room in your life – is there time and space – is there room in your life for Jesus?
I hear a voice crying out in the desert of our calendars and schedules and responsibilities and obligations – I hear a voice crying out in our overworked and overbooked lives – I hear a voice crying out in the wilderness of our hoarder-packed days and nights – I hear the voice of one crying out in the stacked full little pathways of our too-busy lives “Make way! Prepare the way of the Lord! Make way to see and touch and encounter the very salvation of God!”
Is there room in your life for Jesus? Room to go to confession? Room to send a prisoner a Christmas card? Room to turn off the TV and shut off the screens and look in each other’s eyes and laugh and smile and spend time together unplugged? Is there room in your life for prayer – to drive to the Church and walk right in these doors and say, “Jesus – Hi. I don’t know how to do this, but hi. I’m making room for you. I love you.” Is there room in your life…is there room in your life for Jesus?
Stand up – Make Way – He is Coming – To You!