A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE A – DEC. 15TH, 2019 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
Most places that we go to, in our everyday lives, we know WHY we go there. There’s a purpose, a reason for the journey, or the visit. We go someplace to achieve a certain goal, or duty, or task. For example, we go to the grocery store, to buy food for ourselves and our families. Cavemen went hunting with rocks and arrows. We go to Kroger. When we want to mail something, or send something, like Christmas gifts, we go to the Post Office. You go to the Post Office to buy stamps, and send packages, or maybe even to renew your passport. This is one of the busiest weeks of the entire year at the Post Office. You might not want to go there this week. We go to the dry cleaners to make sure that our special clothes are clean and look nice, and so that we don’t stink. We have all kinds of places where we go to take care of things. The gym. The gas station. The bank. Dunkin Donuts. We know why we go there. And we know exactly what need we are taking care of when we go there.
Today, on this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we come to church, to Mass. And we get here, and we hear Jesus ask the people of His time, why did they go out to see John the Baptist in the desert? It’s a good question. John the Baptist wasn’t in a beautiful, comfortable church. He was in the desert. They could have been bit by something, like a scorpion or a snake. And it was hot in the desert. And John was not passing out donuts and coffee after he got done baptizing people. So what’s going on here? And Jesus is very direct with these folks.
There were probably many different answers to Jesus’ question today. Some went out of curiosity. Some when because maybe a friend or family member told them about what John the Baptist was doing. Undoubtedly though, many went because they knew that that was something missing from their lives. They were looking for something that they was missing from their lives. They knew that there was something more. And whether they were Jewish or not, they had this innate hunger in their souls for God that told them that this John the Baptist guy might just have the way that they needed, to get the answers. And so they did go out to the desert. They did get Baptized. They did start to change their lives. And they started to find an answer to what this life really is all about! It started to make sense for them.
We are now more than halfway through our season of Advent. We are a week and a half away from one of the greatest Christian feasts of the entire year, Christmas. Maybe today, Jesus is asking all of us, the same questions that He asked John the Baptist’s disciples two-thousand years ago: WHY DID WE COME HERE TODAY? Surely, it’s not because of the pink vestments! Most of our neighbors here in Hamilton County did NOT go to the church today. So why did we? My brothers and sisters, we need to be very clear about this. Why did you come here today? What are you looking for? What is it that you come here wanting God to do for you? And why should we keep coming back here every Sunday? The answer, as usual, is Jesus!
Jesus Christ is the reason, not just for the season, but for everything! You want peace and direction in your life? You came to the right place! You’re not going to find that at Walmart. It’s not that kind of saving place. You want help and grace to make it through whatever this world, this life, is throwing at you? Get Jesus into your life more and more. Again, you have come to the right place! Ace Hardware cannot help you, even with the helpful hardware man! You can’t find His kind of strength at the Fire Station, or at the gym, or at the drugstore. Jesus is the answer to every one of our questions, every one of our needs, and every one of our situations, and we need to be here every Sunday. We can’t get, we can’t find this Jesus, any other place quite like at Mass, where He physically, and substantially comes to us, and inside of us, to help us live the Christian life, the only kind of life that is going to lead us home to Heaven, when all the rest of this is over. Someday soon, for all of us, whether you know and love this Jesus Christ, or you don’t, is going to have great significance for each one of us. Let me promise you, my brothers and sisters, on the day that you close your eyes for the last time, on the day that you take that last breath, you’re going to know exactly why you came to Mass today, and last week, and next week, and every Sunday of our lives, because the Jesus that we seek, is the ONLY WAY home to eternal life. That’s why we come here today. That’s the Jesus that we seek every time we come here to His Church!
Seeking Him, changes us. Not just when we get to Heaven, but even now. Every time we come here. His love makes us more generous! This is what Matthew Kelly is talking about as the third sign of a dynamic Catholic. There’s nothing like this Jesus Christ. His love makes us who we truly are supposed to be. His love makes us love more. Generosity, then, becomes the result of us finding our purpose in Him! We can fix our Church. But we can only do it, by staying intimately connected to Him, here and now!
We’ve all got a lot of place to go and things to do in this next week. May none of them be more important than coming to meet Him here, in His house!
+ May God bless all of us in this Third Week of Advent, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
St. Maria Goretti.. Pray for us !!!