December 3, 2017

A HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT –  CYCLE “B”  –  12/3/17  –  SMG

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

Sometimes it seems like everybody is wanting us to look at something!  Hey, look at that controversial billboard!  You just gotta see that YouTube video!  There’s “Must See” TV and then there’s Netflix where you can binge-watch entire seasons of shows.  Newspapers and magazines today fight an uphill battle, trying to get us to read, to look, to watch, what they are doing, in a medium that probably isn’t going to be around for too much longer.  Advertisers want our attention.  They want us to look at their products, and spend our money.  The government wants to us to watch and be involved and be political.  Sometimes, it is like we have the entire world screaming at each one of us, “Look at me!”  Watch me!  I’m important.  We are constantly bombarded with things to watch out for.  It’s a crazy world we live in.   And we are very distracted.  Constantly!

And you know, who relies on our watching closely?  Magicians.  Magicians count on our watching closely, because if we do, we they can direct and manipulate what we are seeing, than a good magician can give us the illusion that something else is happening.  You see, a good magician distracts us, and while we are distracted, that’s when they trick us into thinking that something else has happened.  When in fact, what we often see, is the illusion that something else has happened.  And this is all because we are distracted.  Being distracted, can keep us from seeing the truth.

Today, we begin our Season of Advent, and as we come to Mass, in St. Mark’s Gospel, we hear Jesus tell us to “Watch!”   Watch.  Jesus isn’t asking us to watch like NBC, or the NFL, or even Netflix, wants us to watch.  Jesus is asking us to stay ready, to be prepared, and to NOT BE DISTRACTED.  Jesus isn’t inviting us to some phony magic.  He’s not trying to pull something over on us. You see, Jesus knows all the tricks.  And Jesus knows that we are easily distracted.  You see, even two-thousand years ago, when Jesus Himself walked this earth, it was still pretty easy to be distracted as you went through this life.  And they didn’t even have cable or the internet back then!  There are so many distractions in this world, different things to feast our eyes on, that pretty soon we aren’t looking for the important things in life anymore, but only the things that grab our attention, or distract us.  And that can’t be for us who await the return of the Lord.  We can’t be distracted.  We can’t lose our focus.  We can afford to NOT watch.  My brothers and sisters, we want to be ready for our Lord.  No matter when He comes, we want to be ready.

Advent is our perfect time for getting ready for this.  Yes, we are preparing for the great Feast of Christmas in just a few weeks.  But we are also preparing for Jesus’ ultimate return, His second coming, which can happen any day.  We don’t want to forget that fact.  He is coming back.  He said He would.  He was always true to His word, and so there is no reason whatsoever to suspect that He was kidding, or that He didn’t mean what He said.  Yes, we want to be watching!  It may be the most important thing that we will ever watch for, and be ready for, and look forward to!

But we can’t be watching and ready if we are distracted.  And that’s where Advent comes in.  We’ve got these next few weeks to really get ourselves for the Lord.  We can’t do that with the TV on.  We can’t do that if we’re so busy watching everything else, like basketball, and Christmas specials, and reality TV.  We can’t even do it distracted by lights, or music, or busy schedules.  The distractions are many.  There are thousands of different threats to our Advent season.  All of them, keep us from seeing the truth!  And that is that Jesus is supposed to be our focus, our priority, our number one!  Not just in Advent, but every day of our lives!  Advent does help us to get ready, to be prepared!

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But we do need to make the time and the space to watch for Jesus!  And that does mean that sometimes in these next few weeks, we are going to need to turn the TV and computer off.   It means that we are going to need more silence and quiet during this time, than we normally do.  It means that we can’t get busy celebrating Christmas now, because it is NOT Christmas yet.  We’ve got work to do, to get spiritually ready.  There are prayers to be prayed.  There are selfless and generous gestures that need to be made.  There’s time in Adoration that needs to be spent.  There are Bible passages that need to be read.   There are corporal acts of mercy that need to be done.  There’s time alone and in silence that needs to happen!  Advent doesn’t just happen to us.  We’ve got to make this holy season work.  But when we do, that’s when the real magic of Christmas can come alive inside our hearts!

We can waste this time.  We don’t have to do Advent.  Obviously, there will be a lot of Catholics who are completely unaware that Advent is even is going on.  But if we take advantage of it, if we give this season a chance, if get rid of a few of the distractions, and really give God the chance this year, we can have an experience of being ready for Christ and for Christmas, unlike any other.

The choice, my brother and sisters, is up to each one of us.  Let us Watch, without blinking, without distraction, without waiver.  Because we don’t want to miss a single thing!  God has an amazing plan.  Let us be ready for it all!

+   May God bless us during this Holy Season of Advent,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…          AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                 Pray for us !!!