Sunday, December 02, 2007

First Sunday of Advent - homily

Today’s Gospel seems very timely for the week we just had which was a very tough week. Jesus’s line about “if the master of the house had known…when the thief was coming” speaks directly to the situation with Sean Taylor of the Redskins. Also, there was a good, young man from St John’s High School who died this past week, Carl Waclawik. These are two young men who died suddenly. Our hope is that they were prepared. Jesus says to us, “you also must be prepared”. It can happen at any time, folks.

Our hope is that Sean and Carl lived with Jesus, died with Jesus, and will live forever with Christ in his Kingdom.

When we hear about studies and surveys of what people most worry about or are afraid of, death is one of those things. I think that one major reason people are worried about death is that we are worried about judgement. When we talk about judgement, we talk about "particular judgement" which will occur at the end of each of our lives. We also talk about Final Judgement which will occur at the end of the world, at the second coming of Christ. If we prepare for judgement, we will be less worried about it.

One of the things that also makes the list of people’s biggest worries is public speaking. Many people are more worried about speaking in public than death! And yet, if people practice their speeches or talks, they will be less worried about them. If they prepare, they will be less worried. There’s also the example of preparing for a thief or burglar. If we prepare our home with the proper security, then we will be less worried about a break-in. In the same way, if we prepare for judgement, we will be less worried about it.

Jesus talks about judgement in today’s Gospel. I’d like to point out three things he says. First, he says that the people who lived “in Noah’s days” gave no thought to things like judgement. They gave no thought to impending catastrophe, like a flood. That was their bigger sin; it was bigger than any carrying on they were doing with eating or drinking. Second, Jesus says to the Apostles and to us, don’t do the same thing! Don’t get so busy that you give no thought to judgement. Third, those who are “taken” are those who are prepared, those who are vigilant. We want to among those who are taken to the kingdom. We want to be among those who are prepared.

How do we prepare for judgement? We stay close to Jesus. Two specific ways to prepare for judgement are the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Most Holy Eucharist. When we go to Confession, it’s like we start judgement now. We go before the priest who is acting in the person of Christ the Judge. The priest judges our actions but also offers mercy to us, the penitents. Rather than waiting for one big judgement at the end of our lives, we take it incrementally every time we go to Confession.

If we stay close to the Eucharist, then we will not be worried about judgement. If we stay close to the Eucharist, then we live lives of Grace which gets us to Heaven; we stay close to Jesus and in close friendship with Him. That’s what this is all about.

We hope that Sean and Carl stayed close to Jesus and were prepared. We hope that we, too, stay close to Jesus, that we are prepared, that we are vigilant, and that we are among those who will be taken to eternal life.


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received this poem from a friend a week ago, and felt Advent, a time of preparation for the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, was an appropriate time to share its message. I know, on a daily basis, during both good and bad times that my physical presence is temporary, limited to this world, only on loan. I hope and pray, on a daily basis, during both good and bad times that my spiritual presence is not temporary, not limited to this world, not on loan. As the poem states, it is time to ask myself yet again, “Is my heart prepared? Is my conscience sound?” Happy New Year!

A Christmas Poem
From the heavens above, Christ looked down,
He saw a world covered with frowns.
A world desperately searching for peace,
Forgetting this life is merely on lease.

He jumped out of heaven into our humble abode,
He came to help lighten our load.
Christ gave up heaven for 33 years!
His selfless love is crystal clear.

The trees and the lights and decorations abound,
Scores of shoppers are driving and running around.
We need to write cards and plan for the feasts,
But where is Christ? Where is his peace?

Let’s put Christ back into Christmas this year,
Reminding ourselves WHO we hold dear.
In just a few weeks, Christ will come down,
have we prepared our hearts? Is our conscience sound?

Thank you Christ, thanks for coming here!
With you at my side, I have no fear.
My present to you on this Christmas day,
Will be my fidelity, that’s all I can say.

God Bless,
Fr. Michael Sliney, LC

Please find the below link…a PBS documentary will be coming out soon on Pope John Paul II.


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