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Anticipation For Jesus Begins!

Homily 12 01 2013
1st Sunday of Advent - A

Homily 12 01 2013
1st Sunday of Advent - A

View the Readings for this day

It's always a pleasure on this day, the first Sunday of Advent, to turn both the Missal and the Lectionary from the very last page back to the very first page, to begin the celebration of the paschal mystery all over again.


Today is a Mass of beginnings. Firstly we begin a new liturgical year. There are three of them: Year A when we read the Gospel of Matthew; Year B when we read the Gospel of Mark; and Year C when we read the Gospel of Luke.

Today we begin the three year cycle again from the very beginning - Year A - and, in another sense, we are also beginning the journey of the rest of our life.

And so, from all the different areas of the parish, from many different walks of life, and from a great variety of human situations you and I have joined the long procession of Catholics who, throughout the world, have gathered in their own local church to celebrate these three new beginnings as disciples of Christ.

The readings this Sunday alert us to something about to begin. The language is emphatic. Night is ending. Dawn is at hand. "Stay awake." Put on "the armor of light." And "let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord." There is a sense of anticipation. Advent is that anticipation, that moment of joyful hope, lived out across four weeks.

We symbolize that, and ritualize it, with the Advent wreath. But we don't light all four candles at once. We go one at a time, so the light gathers and grows. If you have an Advent calendar, you don't fold open every window at once, but you go one small window at a time.

We shouldn't rush it. Advent is the time of great expectations. Dorothy Day, in fact, compared it to a woman expecting a child. "She lives in such a garment of silence," Day wrote, "as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her."

That brings us to a question all of us should ask during these coming weeks: Are we listening? Are we paying attention? Are we looking to what will be - or are we already there?

If we jump right into the holiday season, we forget to wait, and watch, and wonder, and pray. We neglect the "joyful hope" that is so much a part of this beautiful season. When Christmas arrives, it will seem almost anticlimactic: one more day in a long litany of jingling bells and canned carols.

This year, resist the urge. Wait a while to get the tree and hang the wreath. Turn down the Christmas music. Live Advent.

Instead, use these weeks to pull back, to retreat from the ho-ho-ho and fa-la-la-la-la. --Find time to look within-to pray more deeply, and converse more intimately with the One who is coming. Ask him: How can I prepare for you?

What can I do to welcome you into my life? If we do that, we may be surprised at the answer.

St. Francis, Saint of Nature, was hoeing his garden one day. A philosopher friend approached him and asked, "What would you do if you learned you would die before the sun sets?" St. Francis reflected for a moment and replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden. I would be faithful to what I am doing now."

Bonhoeffer was asked by critics, "Why do you expose yourself to all this danger? Jesus will return any day and all your work and suffering will be for nothing." Bonhoeffer said, "If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I will rest from my labors, but today I have work to do. I must continue the struggle until I am finished."

If you are wondering what areas of your life you should improve, check it out with St Paul. He ticks off such pastimes as heavy drinking, sexual misconduct, arguing, and jealousy for openers. You can take it from there. The Apostle to the Gentiles obviously spent many long Saturday afternoons in the confessional box in Rome. As we go to Confession in our parish, we might carry with us advice that salvation is not measured by perspiration but by readiness. (Leonard Foley)

Surely the thing for us to do is to work gradually at it. Like a recovering alcoholic we should take one day at a time, do one good thing at a time, resist one sin at a time.

But God doesn't want us to get so bogged down and overburdened in our attempts to try to follow the right path that we don't enjoy ourselves.

He does not want us to look forward to that Day of his Second Coming with dread and in foreboding. He wants us to await his Second Coming breathless with anticipation, eagerly awaiting his arrival just as a child waits for Christmas. This Day that we are waiting for is truly a Day of Joy, a Day of Wonder, a Day of Fulfillment, indeed it is 'the' Day of Salvation. And all things in heaven and on earth will come to their culmination on that great Day of Days.

As they say nowadays: bring it on!

Our role is that of a perennial alarm-clock, announcing that at any moment the divine may enter into our lives, and transform them beyond our imagining. It's the greatest prediction I can make this morning:

God will surprise your life when you least expect it.

Are you ready to be surprised? Will you open up your life to surprises this Advent season? Will you let your life be ambushed by the Spirit?

Keep those words, O Come Emmanuel on your lips constantly during this Advent Season.


Home Homilies Homily 12 01 2013

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Mass Schedule

Saint Aloysius
Tue - Fri - 8:30am
Sat - 5:00pm
Sun - 10:30am

Holy Days
8:30am & 7:00pm

First Friday
8:30am followed by Adoration until 7:55pm

- After weekday Mass
- Before Sat & Sun Mass
- Mon - 3:00pm

Sat - 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Or by appointment

Our Lady Of Lourdes
Sun - 8:30am

Before Sunday Mass

Find Us

Saint Aloysius
211 West Mason Ave.
Buckley, WA 98321
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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Office Hours
Tue - Fri 9am - 12:00pm

Our Lady Of Lourdes
506 Ash Street
Wilkeson, WA 98396
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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