November 27, 2016

A HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE “A” –  11/27/16  –  SMG

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

One of the realities of modern life is noise.  We are surrounded by noise nearly constantly.  Cars, trucks, TV’s, radios, airplanes, rock concerts, squeeze toys, alarm clocks, sirens, phones ringing, thunder, a balloon popping, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, the computer, our headphones, the garbage disposal.  The list could go on and on.  Our poor ears are constantly on overload.  It is estimated that we hear three to four times more noise than our grandparents ever did.  How do we turn it off?  How do we filter it out?  How do we get rid of noise?  That’s the main theme of a new country song, by Kenny Chesney, entitled appropriately enough, “Noise”.  Mr. Chesney seems to think that the only way to do anything about it, is to make more noise.  God has a very different answer.  ADVENT!

Beginning today, God invites us to come in out of the noise of this world, and to really listen to Him with our hearts.  The problems that God understands perfectly, and that we need to be aware of, also, is that when our ears are distracted by noise, it is extremely difficult for our hearts to listen to God!  And so, one of the first lessons of Advent, is get rid of the noise.  We are invited in the silence of this holy season.  It is time to listen to God.  It is not that God isn’t trying to talk to us or that He doesn’t have important messages to get through to us.  The problem today is that we are not listening.  Because we are NOT listening to God, many have come to even doubt His existence!  How sad is that!  It’s like pretending that your little sister doesn’t exist, just because you have your music turned up too loud!  That’s crazy.

Advent, these next four weeks, is our time to really listen to God!  And He is not going to be on TV, and He’s not going to be on the computer, and He’s not going to be in the thunder.  God comes to us in much, much quieter, subtler ways.  God’s voice is many times in a whisper!  It is in that breath of new life, that He invites all of us to be re-born into!  And that’s why we’ve got to be paying attention!  And that’s why we’ve got to be listening with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds.  My brothers and sisters, we can’t afford to be distracted.  We can’t afford to let the noise, get in the way of God’s words.  Now is our time and this is the place in our lives, to really listen to what God has to say.  He is coming again.  Let us listen to God to get prepared.

Then, of course, our Gospel from St. Matthew reminds us just how easy it is to be like the folks at the time of Noah.  Apparently, they had a lot of noise back then also, because they aren’t listening to God any better than we are!  They are seemingly completely indifferent to what is about to take place.  How many either don’t hear the message or prefer to ignore it, or discount it, and so lose the opportunity to be prepared.  Our Gospel challenges us to stay awake, to be like the good master who didn’t let his home get broken into.  The Gospel makes clear that we need to be vigilant and prayerful – to stay awake!  There IS going to be a judgement, and like the master who expects his house to be broken into, we need to be prepared!  And to do that, we’ve got to listen.  We’ve got to turn off all the noise that keeps us from hearing God clearly.  Silence is the very heart of Advent!  John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, even the Wise Men, would any of them been able to do what they need to do, to bring God into this world, if at some point, in the silence of their hearts, God had not spoken and prepared them for what they had to do?  No.  No way!  Advent starts then with silence and getting rid of the noise of our lives!

What do you need to do to listen better?  Do you need to turn the TV off?  Do you need to spend less time on-line?  Do you need a quiet place to go to?  When’s the last time you stopped by the Adoration Chapel?  I gotta tell you, that during the Advent season, the Adoration Chapel should be full of people at every hour!  Why?  It is because we need the quiet!  And we need to get rid of the noise!  You’re not going to find quiet at Kohl’s, or at Macy’s, or at Wal-Mart.  They don’t stock it at any of those places.  Find your quiet, your peace in God.  And He’ll get you prepared for Christmas.  And it will happen in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine!

Advent is the most amazing time of preparation and anticipation!  It is unlike any other time of our Church year.  Let’s make the most of this holy season this year, and truly make room for silence in our lives.  What we hear, just might save our souls, and prepare us to stand worthy before the Son of Man.

+  May God bless us during this holy season,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                       AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…         Pray for us !!!