December 4, 2016

A HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE”A” –  12/4/16  –  SMG

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

One of the greatest challenges facing almost all organizations, is how do they move you to get involved?  They might get your attention.  They might entice you with their message.  They might get you to listen to what they have to say.  But the next step is to get you involved.  We see this all the time.  The commercials for LA Fitness may make us think about exercising.  And believe me, the month of December is not typically a time when we think about working out.  January is when we think about losing the weight that we gained over the holidays.  So to get us, to get us thinking about exercising, LA Fitness and so many of the other workout places have special sales in December, to move us a month early, to start exercising.  And many times they can hook us, and get committed early.  Or there’s St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.   The month of December is typically a huge time for donations for them, connected to year-end giving.  They can show us in pictures the work that they do for sick children.  They can play that sad music.  They can remind us of how grateful we should all be that our children aren’t sick, and the next thing you know, you are involved with them and you’re writing them a check for their cause.  They move us to action!  Or we could look at the Salvation Army with their red kettles, or the Coats for Kids drive, or the Toys for Tots, all of them too, want us to be moved to action.  Even here at church, one of the greatest debates that we have around here at St. Maria Goretti is how do we move people to get more involved and more committed, and how to get them to show that involvement and commitment by their actions, by their involvement, and by their giving.  It’s not enough to just hear the message, we’ve got to be pulled in by the message, to do something about.

Last Sunday, on our First Sunday of Advent, we talked about silence and the listening that is so important to Advent.  Today, on this Second Sunday of Advent, we remember that as we listen to God during Advent, we are also meant to be called in, drawn into the message.  Do you know who was a Master at this?  St. John the Baptist was one of the best!  You could just start listening to St. John the Baptist for a little while, and he drew you in.  The next thing you knew, you were leaving your comfortable house, and your delicious dinner, and your Netflix, and you were headed out into the desert.  John has a way of drawing people in.  As you listened, you couldn’t help but realize that you needed to go out to the desert and see and hear this man.  St. John the Baptist moved folks to get involved!  Many times, they didn’t even realize how it was happening, but thousands of them from all over Judea left their comfortable homes and went out to be Baptized by John the Baptist.  John moved them to action.  He didn’t just make them feel good.  He wasn’t just putting on a good show out there in the desert.  He was changing lives so much that he was inspiring his followers to make a difference with their lives!  This is great and powerful stuff.  The Church should still be doing this today, ALL OF US!!!

We do listen during Advent, as we talked about last week.  But we can only listen for so long before we are moved to do something about that we hear.  This week we are called to get involved!  Anybody can talk about this stuff!  We’ve got to get involved!  We’ve got to get busy! We’ve got to get our hands dirty in the messy work of building up the Kingdom of God!   Two-thousand years ago, those people listen to John the Baptist and they went out into the desert and changed their lives.  What would it take for you to leave the comforts of your home and come out and make a change?  Maybe God wants you to go to a Bible Study, or a Youth Group, or help in the food pantry?  Maybe God wants you to go hear or listen to a mission, or a retreat, or a special speaker.  Maybe God wants you to help with the Fruitful Harvest Campaign, or the Sport’s Ministry, or the Holy Name Society.  The real question is, are you going to do it?  Anybody can just listen!  What it going to take to get you involved and committed?   John the Baptist proved that sometimes you can’t stay home.  Sometimes you can’t just listen.  Sometimes you must get involved!  Advent challenges all of us to get more involved!  You can’t get this close to God and not be affected.  The Advent of the Christ is changing all of us.  The voice of John the Baptist this week, this second week of our Advent season, demands that we make a decision:  Either we are going to follow Him or not.  Either we are going to give God a chance in our lives, or else we are going to sit on the sidelines and not get it.  Either we are going to follow John out into the desert and get prepared for our future, or we are going to stay at home and die in our past.  This Advent, the choice is ours.  This second week of Advent it is time to put up or shut up.  As Catholic Christians, it is time to get involved and be fully committed.  St. John the Baptist will accept nothing less!

+  May God bless us this Second Week of Advent,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit….       AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…     Pray for us !!!