A HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE “A” – 12/1/13 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum!
In just one month from today, just 31 days, we will be beginning a new year. New Year’s this year falls on a Wednesday. We might sleep in on New Year’s Day. We will go to Mass for the Holy Day of Obligation. Many of us will eat corned beef and cabbage. We will celebrate the New Year eating too much, drinking too much, and watching football. Come to think of it, New Year’s sounds a lot like Thanksgiving, when you look at like that. And as we begin the next year on our calendar, many of us will make resolutions. We will set goals. We will re-prioritize our lives. It is hard to believe, but 2014 is almost upon us.
Today, however, as begin Advent, we also begin a new church calendar, or liturgical calendar. In many ways, for us as Catholics, today is New Year’s Day. Our whole cycle of prayer and liturgical life re-sets itself today and we begin anew. Today we begin using Cycle “A” for our Sunday readings, which will take us through St. Matthew’s Gospel in our readings on Sunday. During the week, we start using Year II of the weekday cycle. This liturgical year runs through November 29th, 2014, when next year, when just like today, we will start all over again. Happy New Year!
So we begin this new year, and we begin Advent, with Jesus talking to us in St. Matthew’s Gospel about what it was like back in Noah’s time. Jesus points out, that in the days right before the flood, people were just living their normal lives. Nobody was paying attention. Nobody was concerned. A lot of people weren’t listening to God and what God wanted. Jesus says that it was like this, right up to the day that Noah entered the Ark with all the animals. Then, maybe on the second day, or third day, or maybe it was more like the eighth day, when it was STILL raining, and the water was getting deep, that people began to notice and they realized, God was not happy. God was destroying His world, because His creatures would not listen. The water just kept on coming down. And all died, except those that God had saved in the Ark.
How much like those people standing there in the rain, are we? So many times we don’t listen to God. We aren’t obeying God. Sometimes we don’t even pay attention to God. And we always think that God is just going to let us keep going on like that forever. Guess what? Nobody treats God like that, and gets away with it forever! There are costs to our sins. There are ramifications to our disobedience. As we begin Advent, we are ALL asked to remember this. Jesus is coming back. We’ve got to get our acts together before He does come back. Advent helps us to get ready for Christmas. But even more, Advent reminds us and helps us to get ready for Jesus’ return. What do we need to change in our lives?
As we begin this season of Advent, let’s start fresh. Let’s get back to what our priorities were supposed to be all along. The Church gives us all this beautiful season at the very beginning of the new liturgical year to make some new resolutions. Not resolutions that we give up on after a few weeks, but this Advent, let us make some Faith resolutions that will see us home to eternity! Let us set some goals. Let us re-prioritize our spiritual lives, and become the people that God created us to be. It is so easy to become complacent. It is so easy for us as Catholics to just go through the motions. This year, this Advent, may we prepare our hearts for the Christ. Before we prepare the tree, before we prepare the presents, and before we prepare the fruitcake, we need to prepare our hearts for Jesus. And that of course, means that we need to actually do Advent. It is NOT Christmas yet. We’ve got a whole lot of spiritual work to do before we get to Christmas. We need to listen to God. We need to pay attention to what God is saying to us. We need to pray and experience Him in the Sacraments. We need to concentrate more on our relationships, than on our gift lists. My brothers and sisters, may we again start our Faith renewed by the Holy Spirit.
May we stay awake. May we be prepared. Time is passing very quickly. Don’t waste a minute of it!
+And may God bless us throughout this Advent season, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!