Homily for 1st Sunday in Advent
Am I living for myself or for God?
“As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
People were living as if the only thing that matters is the way they are living. They were living for themselves; not for God and neighbor. They were swept away by the flood.
As Jesus says, it will be the same when the Son of Man comes; in the field and in the mill –one will be left and one will be taken. Was God`s choice of who He would take arbitrary? Were both men the same and both women the same?
Jesus then says, “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come….So to, you also must be prepared…” It seems that the ones he took were prepared.
What does it mean to be prepared?
Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Mt 7:21.
If you asked people if they believed they were going to heaven, almost everyone would say yes. And yet Jesus says only those who do the will of His Father will enter heaven.
How do you know what God`s will is?
We begin with the Scriptures. Jesus says, “Blest are they who hear the Word of God and keep it.”
To keep it is to hold it in our hearts, to believe it and to live it. In a letter from the Bishops of the U.S. they tell us “…if you have not undergone conversion, you have not accepted the Word of God.”
In what authority do we place our trust?
To be prepared is to be changed. Jesus also gave his authority to the Church so that it could guide us, but if we refuse to listen to the Church how can we know the will of God?
Through the Church, Jesus gives us the Holy Mass, which is the greatest of all prayers and he gives us the sacraments as the source of grace we need to discover and do the Fathers will, which is often in conflict with our will.
We have the Scriptures, the Word of God to guide us. St Jerome once said, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” If we don’t know Christ we aren’t prepared.
We have the lives of the saints as models of what faithful discipleship should look like. Ignorance of the saints is ignorance of the Church and the powerful presence of God it has been through the ages.
What commitments am I willing to make to God?
A commitment to daily prayer is a necessary aspect of our relationship with God. No prayer means no faith. St. Paul says — “we should pray always; we should begin everything we do with prayer”.
Being prepared is not something that will just naturally happen; it’s a choice we must make and it will take a great deal of effort on our part. God has not asked something of us that is unreasonable.
Do you need a wake-up call?
Many years ago when we were going door to door we met a woman who was in her last stage cancer and in much pain; death was imminent. Even so she thanked God for the cancer because it brought her back to God and the Church. She said it helped to save her soul. In that sense cancer, or any crisis can be a blessing because it can help to save souls.
Do you have any hatred, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc.?
If so you are not prepared!
Do you love God more than anything else and your neighbor as yourself?
During the Advent season we pray for the second coming of Christ with the emphasis on being prepared. The reality is, the same Jesus Christ who will come in glory at the end of time is coming to us in this Mass; are we prepared to receive him. We will not be receiving just a piece of bread, but the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ! We prepare ourselves by being free of all serious sin through frequent of the sacrament of reconciliation and by preparing ourselves spiritually and mentally in our personal prayer before Mass and by active participation in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. This is the best preparation for the coming of Christ.
What is the purpose of all of this?
The purpose is not only to be prepared when Christ comes for us. This preparation will help us to experience our greatest happiness now. Being prepared not only has a transforming effect upon us, but on all our relationships, our community and so on. When we are prepared we will help others to be prepared. Then we can all say, “Come Lord Jesus, come! “
How can I serve this Advent season?
We invite you to give your time, talent, and treasure to a cause that means something to you this Advent season. As a non-profit, we are very grateful when people offer themselves or their resources to help us help the community. When we work together, great things happen. Find out more about how you can volunteer at the Pilgrim Center of Hope. May you have a blessed Advent and Christmas season!