Sunday, December 11, 2016

Because Jesus is coming...

Advent 3 Sun Yr A/2017
Ss. Peter & Paul/Danville

Two weeks down – two to go.  How’s Advent unfolding for you, family?  Most of the presents are bought – or at least some of them.  Christmas cards are getting in the mail; I know, because in your kindness you’re sharing your cards with me, along with pictures of your families and reflections on this past year.  We’re getting ready for our family celebrations – and many of us are getting ready spiritually, too.  This past Wednesday was one of my most amazing days as your pastor.  And hour of confessions before Mass – 45 minutes after – and a packed house for a weekday Mass.  Some of us are getting ready for Christmas – that’s great!!

Because – for two weeks now we’ve been singing the same song together – getting on the same page with our Advent readings this year.  If we’re not paying attention, we’ll miss the boat.  So get ready!  Because Jesus is coming.  But don’t be afraid.  Say it with me family – If we’re not paying attention, we’ll miss the boat.  So get ready.  Because Jesus is coming!  But don’t be afraid…  

Two weeks ago we began our Advent journey – our season of preparation for the coming of Jesus – recognizing that we have to pay attention.  You remember what Jesus said: “As it was in the days of Noah so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man…they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage…they didn’t even notice anything was happening until the flood came and swallowed them up.”  In other words, if we’re not paying attention we’ll miss the boat!  We talked about how ironic it is that all of our preparations for Christmas – shopping, cards, wrapping, lights – all of our preparations for Christmas can distract us so much we miss Jesus.  Are you saying those little prayers before whatever Christmas preparations you make?  “Jesus, help me see you in the people I encounter and the preparations I make for Christmas…”  There’s still time – keep praying those prayers, or begin to pray them for the first time.  Because if we’re not paying attention, we’ll miss the boat.  So we’ve got to get ready!

We heard John the Baptist tell us last week to get ready: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  His message is urgent.  Not next year or next month or next week – right now.  The axe is already laying at the root of the trees to cut down the ones that don’t produce fruit.  Do you remember the kind of fruit John said we must produce to show that we’re ready or Jesus to come?  “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance,” John said.  Compared to the number of hours we’ve spent shopping, wrapping, sending cards – how much time have we spent bringing forth evidence of our repentance?  And what’s the primary fruit of repentance we can produce?  You remember – I know you do.  That’s right – going to confession.  Our 12 2nd graders preparing for 1st communion know it – we can’t be ready to receive Jesus until we’ve first made our confession.  And many of you know it too – those of you who’ve made your confessions in the last couple of weeks.  And there’s still time!  Remember, if our scheduled confession times don’t work, all you have to do is call me.  My cell number is right on the front of the bulletin – I’m available to you – to all of you – any time day or night.

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If we’re not paying attention, we’ll miss the boat.  Say those little prayers…  So get ready!  Make your confession…  Why?  Because Jesus is coming!  Friend – Jesus really is coming.  He’s on the way.  Just like Isaiah says, “Here is your God – he comes with vindication – with divine recompense.”  Here’s the real kicker, friends: “He comes to save you!”  Here is your God – He comes to save you!  And how will he do that?  Wherever in your life you feel blind – unable to see God’s plan, unable to see where to go or how to go forward – wherever in your life you feel blind – He comes to save you!  The eyes of the blind will be open.  And wherever in your life you feel unable to hear God – unable to hear Him call your name – unable to hear Him proclaim His love for you – wherever in your life you feel unable to hear – He comes to save you!  The ears of the deaf will be cleared.  Wherever you are lame and mute – unable to leap with the joy of the Lord this season because of grief or illness or difficult circumstance; wherever you are unable to raise your voice in praise of God and to encourage and love your neighbor – wherever you are lame and mute – He comes to save you!  The lame will leap like a stag – the tongue of the mute will sing!

Isn’t it exciting?!?!?!  Isn’t it amazing?!?! Can’t you feel it in the air?  Jesus is coming – He really is!  He’s coming to us – coming to be with us – coming as one of us.  Jesus is coming to save us!!!  That’s why we pause in our purple anticipation to bask in the warm and rosy glow of the promise!  All of our preparations, all of our waiting, all of our Advent – it all really will lead somewhere!  The promise is real – the excitement will get us there if we let it – if we let the promise fuel the preparations and move on from this place ready to greet Him when He comes!  If that doesn’t stir something in you – if that doesn’t excite you or at least help you hope for the excitement of Jesus coming to you in new way – a bigger way – a broader way – if that doesn’t stir something in you, even if its deep down in a place that’s hard to reach, then nothing will.  But it’s there, friends.  It’s there, even if its way deep down there – it’s there or you wouldn’t be here.  And you know what?  If it’s there, the Holy Spirit can reach it – the Holy Spirit can reach you – and Jesus will come to you even more completely than before…

if you let Him…

If we’re not paying attention, we’ll miss the boat.  So get ready!  Get ready friends – because Jesus is coming.  He’s coming at Christmas.  He’s coming today.  He’s coming into your heart.  He’s coming to call you…to take you on a great adventure.  He’s coming.  So…keep up the little prayers asking Him to help you pay attention to Him.  He’s coming…so get ready – make your confession.  He’s coming…

If you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss the boat.  So get ready.  Because Jesus is coming!  But don’t be afraid…

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