A HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – CYCLE “A” – DECEMBER 1ST, 2019 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
It’s kinda funny that today we are beginning our Season of Advent AND our preparations for Christmas, because for so many weeks now, we’ve already heard about getting ready for the holidays. I think they started even before Halloween this year. They want us to shop early and shop often. And so, how many times have we heard about this product or that product, all promising to give us the “perfect” Christmas? And we’ve had all this Black Friday stuff. Did you see the funeral home in New Jersey that was actually having a Black Friday sale? Let me tell you, if anyone can have a true Black Friday sale, I’d have to say that it is a funeral home! And now Monday, is going to be “Cyber” Monday. Can’t wait! It just gets so old, with the commercials telling us what we need for a “Merry” Christmas. Last couple of years, a real big item has been those projector laser lights, that you put on the outside of your house. Now, you don’t have to put up lights, you just turn on the laser projector, and little sleighs and reindeers rotate all over the front of your house. And that’s what they want you to believe will make you have a “Merry” Christmas. Or a lot of the commercials promise us if we just drink this particular coffee, or we drink this wine, or we drink that beer, or that cranberry Sprite stuff, that that will make us have a “Merry” Christmas. I think that’s a different kind of “Merry” Christmas. If you drink enough Bailey’s Irish Cream, you might possibly be merry, for a while, but that’s not going to give you a “Merry” Christmas. And finally, my favorite Christmas commercials show up every year, just in time for Thanksgiving and Advent, and that is the Ferrero Rocher commercials. You know the ones! There’s always a pyramid of stacked, golden-wrapped, Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates, and an Italian supermodel walks up and takes just the top one, without knocking down any of the others. How’d she do that? I bet she’s really good at Jenga! She unwraps it, and puts it in her mouth, and smiles just like the Mona Lisa. But again, that’s not the kind of “Merry” Christmas that we’re looking for, is it? As people of Faith, we know that a true “Merry” Christmas isn’t about lights, or decorations, or what we like to drink during the holidays, or even our favorite Christmas candy. In fact, maybe for us as Catholic Christians, it shouldn’t even be about a “Merry” Christmas, maybe we should be seeking “A Holy” Christmas!
For you know, that’s what this Advent season that we begin today is really all about. Advent isn’t about making us “Merrier”. Advent is about making Christmas holier, and more of an experience of God in our lives. After all, that’s why God came down into this world in the first place, to help us to experience Him, to get to know Him, and to fall in love with Him. This Advent, then, way before we get to Christmas in three and a half weeks, we’ve got some serious work to do. And the primary thing we have to work on, is our prayer lives. This first week of Advent is our time to listen and pay attention to how our God is calling each one of us. We can’t do that if we’re not praying! So this Advent, like most Advents before, it is really time for us to concentrate on our prayer lives and keep focused!
Jesus describes for us in the Gospel today about how important it to stay awake and alert, and to pay attention to what is going on. That’s hard to do when you’re distracted by all the commercials, and all the noise, and all the false promises of a “Merry” Christmas. The counter fix to the problems of this worldly run-up to Christmas, is Advent. And it is an Advent spent in prayer and spiritual preparation, is one that always leads to a Holy Chritmas,
My brothers and sisters we’ve got lot of work to do in the next few weeks! Am I not talking about shopping, or decorating, or cooking, or putting up laser light projectors! We’ve got some real turning to God and praying to do. The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic says that prayer is where we should always start. We’ve got to become better pray-ers! We’ve got to talk to God more, and in more intimate ways. We can’t be afraid to talk to God about anything. We need to come to Mass more often. We need to pray the Rosary. We need to read the Bible. We need to learn to pray the liturgy of the hours. We need to sign up for that Adoration Hour! We need to just talk to Him! Do we really want a HOLY Christmas? Then the time to pray for Holy Christmas is right now, this week! Let us stay awake and alert, and watch for the Lord in our lives today. He is there. And we don’t want Him sneaking up on us now or ever! And so we do prepare for Christmas. And we prepare for a Holy Christmas, and not just a Merry one!
Let us see what God can do with us in these four weeks. Give Him a chance, and let Him prove just what prayer can do!
+ May God bless us in this new season of Advent, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!