December 11, 2016

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT –  CYCLE “A” –  DEC. 11TH, 2016  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

Today the Church is filled with joy.  Today we rejoice!  We light the pink candle on our Advent wreath, signifying joy, and it burns bright as we fill this sacred space today with joyful music, all because our God draws near!  We are just two weeks away from Christmas.  I gotta tell ya, I really don’t understand this connection between rejoicing and the color pink.   I mean, I’ll wear the vestment today.  But why pink?  Why not yellow?  You know, yellow is the color of emoji’s, and those smiling faces symbols, and the sun, and sunflowers.  Those are all really happy things.  Yellow is a really joyful color!  Or why not red?  Clown’s noses are red.  Sports cars are red.  Watermelon is red, at least on the inside!  Those are happy things too!  Or why not blue?  Isn’t blue a joyful color?  The sky, lakes and oceans, and blueberries are all blue.  The smurfs were blue.  Anybody remember the smurfs?  Blue is the color of the Chicago Cubs.  And the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series this year, if any color is joyful in 2016, it’s gotta be blue!  Right?  And here I am in pink.  Again.

What’s much more important today than the color, is what we are rejoicing over.  And both our First Reading and our Gospel give us the answer to WHY we are rejoicing.  We rejoice today because our God is coming to save us!  When Jesus comes, as He says in the Gospel, “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the Good News preached to them.”  And even more than physical healing, this Jesus promises to be the healing answer to our deepest needs, TO OUR DEEPEST NEEDS!  That’s why we rejoice today!  Our God has us covered!  Our God does save us!  No matter where we’ve been, no matter what we’ve done, our God takes us back and heals us of it all.  Our deepest needs are not a new sweater, or a new TV, or a gift card, or chia pet!  Those are gifts we give that we wrap up and give to each other at Christmas time.  God is offering us something so much more!  Salvation, and love, and mercy!  That’s what we’re getting ready for, not our little gifts, but God’s huge Gift that lasts forever!

Part of our getting ready, part of our preparation of Advent, every year, has to be going to Reconciliation.  It is extremely important that as we get ready for Christmas, that we make things right with God.  And there’s no better way of doing that, than by going to Reconciliation or Confession.  And guess what?  This coming Wednesday, December 14th, is our Advent Penance Service.  This Wednesday night, we are going to have a lot of priests here to hear Confessions.  I think that there are thirteen or fourteen coming!  We have one of the largest penance services in our deanery!  And guess what?  YOU need to be here on Wednesday night, at 7:00 PM!  This is our chance.  This is our opportunity, to really rejoice in this beautiful gift that God wants to give us, His saving love!  Please make the time to come and join us on Wednesday night.  And a special word to those who haven’t been to Confession for a long time:  DON’T WAIT!  TAKE CARE OF THIS, THIS WEDNESDAY.  We have some Catholics who haven’t been to Confession for a very long time.  This is your chance!  No judgements.  No guilt.  No evil looks.  Just God’s mercy and love!

Another extremely important part of our Advent season, is our continued sharing with others.  Every year, on the second or third Sunday of Advent, we have a tradition here at St. Maria Goretti, of having the Little Sisters of the Poor, from St. Augustine’s Home in Indianapolis, come out and share their story and their work with us, so that we can share in their ministry and pray for them.  We are honored to have the Little Sisters of the Poor with us today.  Please welcome Sister Cecilia to our Parish…