December 16, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE “C” – 12/16/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Two-thousand years after the Birth of Christ, as we are nine days away from celebrating His Birthday, it seems pretty clear what we need to be doing these next few days. We know what the expectations are. We can ask any of our busy Moms right here at Mass this morning, and they will tell us all, of exactly how many things that they have to make sure are taken care of, BEFORE we get to Christmas, a week from Tuesday! There’s gifts still to buy, and wrap, and deliver and mail. There’s food that must be purchased, and prepared, and taken to specific celebrations. There are rooms in our homes that still need to be decorated and to be cleaned. There’s laundry that still needs be done. There’s haircuts, and new shoes, and dry-cleaning! Can you imagine if they had dry-cleaning back in Jesus’ day? St. Joseph would yell at Mary, “Mary, have you seen my brown robe? And Mary would answer, “Honey, I sent it to the dry-cleaners. Wear your navy blue one!” And Joseph, because he wasn’t perfect or sinless, would say, “But Sweetie, I really wanted to wear the brown one! The navy blue one makes me itch!” And Mary would counter back with, “Joseph of Nazareth, I am going to have a baby in about a week, put your navy blue robe on, and just be glad that you have a nice, clean navy blue robe to wear!” I’m pretty sure that Jewish guilt was at least as strong as Catholic guilt, even back then.
We know that there’s a lot to do in the next nine days. These are crazy days in many ways, whether you’re having a baby or not. These are days of excitement, and expectation, and rejoicing! You can feel it inside our homes and within our families! Gaudete Sunday is here!
In our First Reading, Zephaniah is exultant in his description of God’s faithfulness and promise. In our Second reading, St. Paul in his letter to the people of Philippi, wants the people to be joyful, not with a superficial rejoicing, but with a very real rejoicing that flows from the Lord God Himself. To maintain this joy, St. Paul reminds them to stay prayerful at all times.
But it is the voice of St. John the Baptist who gives us the best advice this week, in the middle of the craziness of these last days leading up to Christmas. As we just heard, John gets asked a question that we can all relate to and understand: What should we do? And it’s that question that catches our attention! WHAT SHOULD WE DO? It is a very practical question. And John the Baptist gives them very practical responses! They are not to retreat from life, but be converted a just way of living. They are not simply to put on sack-cloth and ashes or retreat into the Temple, but they need to be sensitive to the needs of justice – to be sharers rather than takers. Tax-collectors are not to resign but be just. Soldiers are told not to desert, but instead to use their power and authority fairly. This is a Gospel of people power,,,, where the message can change the very face of the world!
And how about us? What must we do? How can we bring about change in our world? As spouses and family members, we can strive to love with a God-like love. As parents and guardians, we can teach our children that their true value lies not in material things or the latest gadget or brand, but in how they treat others and serve the less fortunate. As God-minded people, we use our freedom to serve the Church, which needs each one of us, most especially in these last days of Advent! We are to be busy. There’s a lot to do. In all we do and in all we say, we are to be faithful to the Gospel and to rejoicing in God’s presence and promise.

II

What shall WE do? The list is endless! But it is ONLY when we are faithful to Christ that we will know real joy and understand the challenging hope of Advent.
What are we to do? Just ask your Mother! There’s plenty to do in these next nine days. Let us get everything ready! Let us make sure that all is prepared! And yeah, that includes the dry-cleaning!
+ May God bless us in our Third Week of Advent, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!