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Written Homily

St Barnabas Catholic Church 1STSUN ADVENT (MATT 24:37-44) 12/01/19 Yr A

  
 WHAT IS ADVENT?
 ADVENT,,, IS: ONE OF THE MOST GLORIOUS TIMES OF THE RELIGIOUS YEAR.
 IT’S FILLED WITH MUCH HURRYING AND ACTIVITY. THERE’S THE COOKING,,, THE BAKING,,, THE EATING OF ALL THAT GREAT FOOD,,, AND,,, IT’S A TIME FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO GATHER TOGETHER,,, TO SHARE THE BLESSINGS OF LOVE AND JOY,,, THAT OUR LOVING GOD HAS SO GRACIOUSLY BESTOWED UPON US,,, ALL YEAR LONG.
 BUT WE NEED TO REMEMBER,,, THAT ADVENT,,, IS ALSO A VERY SPECIAL TIME OF THE CHURCH YEAR.  IT’S A TIME FOR US,,, TO HAVE AN EXCITING,,, SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE,,,    AS WE PREPARE FOR THE RETURN OF JESUS.
 TODAY IS THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT,,, AND THE START OF THE CHURCH YEAR!  IT’S THE DAY THAT WE BEGIN TO LIGHT THE ADVENT CANDLES,,, SING ADVENT HYMNSAND WE WAIT,,, AND WE PREPARE.    
 ADVENTSEEKS TO TAKE US BACK TO SIMPLER TIMES WITH SO MUCH LESS,,, OF THE FRANTIC PACE,,, THAT SEEMS TO BE THE SIGNATURE OF SO MANY LIVES TODAY.
 DURING ADVENT,,, WE CELEBRATE HOW JESUS COMES TO US IN THREE WAYS.
 WE CELEBRATE THE FIRST COMING,,, AT HIS BIRTH,,, SOME 2000 YEARS AGO.  
 WE CELEBRATE HIS COMING AMONG US NOW,,, ESPECIALLY IN WORD AND SACRAMENT,,, AND,,, WE CELEBRATE HOW JESUS COMES AMONG US,,, IN ONE ANOTHER,,, IN THE LEAST OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, AND,,,  
 
 WE CELEBRATE JESUS’ SECOND COMING,,, WHEN HE WILL COME AGAIN,,, TO JUDGE CREATION,,, BRINGING IN A TIME OF PEACE AND JOY,,, THAT IS SPOKEN OF SO ELOQUENTLY,,, IN TODAYS READING FROM ISAIAH.  
 BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, THE END IS COMING,,, OF THAT WE CAN BE SURE,,, BUT WHO KNOWS WHEN?
 OUR CONGREGATION,,, HAS BEEN TOUCHED BY SEVERAL DEATHS OVER THIS PAST YEAR AND THIS SERVES TO REINFORCE THE REALITY,,,    THAT WE DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHEN,,,   OUR END IS COMING.
 WHEN EACH OF THOSE PEOPLE WERE BORN,,, GROWING UP,,, LIVING THEIR LIVES,,, AND DOING THE THINGS THAT CONCERNED THEM,,, THEY HAD NO IDEA,,, WHAT SPECIFIC DAY WOULD BE THEIR LAST.   WE JUST DON’T KNOW,,, AND WHAT’S MORE,,,                     WE’RE NOT GOING TO KNOW!
 THERE ARE MANY WHO WANT TO KNOW,,, WHEN THE END WILL COME,,, AND THEY SPEND AN INORDINATE  AMOUNT OF TIME,,, JUST TRYING TO DETERMINE THAT EXACT MOMENT.
 SEPTEMBER THE 11TH,,, BROUGHT ABOUT ANOTHER UNCARING GROUP OF PEOPLE,,, WHO WERE ONLY TOO READY TO TELL US,,, THAT THE TIME IS HERE!
 THESE THINGS BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR CENTURIES AND THEY’LL CONTINUE!    
 MOST OF THESE PREDICTIONS,,, ARE ABOUT BAD NEWS,,, LIKE; EARTHQUAKES,,, FIRE,,, AND DISTRESS.    
 THE STUFF,,, WHOSE SPECIAL EFFECTS MAKE GOOD AND THRILLING MOVIES,,, BUT,,, THEY’RE NOT TOO GOOD,,, FOR BIBLICAL STUDIES.    
 MILLIONS OF DOLLARS,,, HAVE BEEN MADE,,, ON THE VARIETY OF BOOKS,,, THAT HAVE BEEN SOLD,,, EVEN IN CHRISTIAN BOOK STORES,,, ON THESE TYPES OF SPECULATIONS.
 THEY MAKE ALOT,,, ABOUT THE END TIMES,,, AND THEY TRADE ON FEAR AND ANXIETY.  THEIR BOOKS ARE FICTION,,, AND ALTHOUGH THEY MAY EVEN BE AN EXCITING READ,,, THEY AREN’T BIBLICAL!
 PERHAPS THEIR AUTHORS SHOULD READ TODAY’S TEXT FROM MATTHEW?
 BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, WE WILL NOT KNOW THE TIME THAT THE END WILL COME,,, AND TO ASSUME THAT WE CAN,,, IS TO PRESUME,,, TO KNOW MORE   
 THAN DOES THE SON OF GOD!
 TO WANT TO KNOW,,, IS LIKE US DECIDING TO STAND ALONGSIDE OF ADAM AND EVE,,, IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN,,, AND TO LONG FOR THE FRUIT OF THE TREE,,, THAT THAT WOULD ALLOW THEM,,, TO KNOW MORE THAN GOD MEANT THEM TO KNOW.  WE SHOULD JUST TRUST IN THE WORD OF GODAND KEEP SOME DEGREE OF INNOCENSE IN OUR LIVES!
 A FEW YEARS AGO,,, I READ A HUMEROUS STORY BY A FELLOW CATHOLIC PRIEST,,, AND AS WE BEGIN OUR JOURNEY IN OUR ADVENT SEASON TOGETHER,,, I’D LIKE TO SHARE IT WITH YOU.
 THE PRIEST,,, WHO WAS IN HIS EARLY 30’S,,, AT THE TIME,,, TOLD ABOUT HIS BEING A YOUNG BOY,,, AND HIS DESIRE TO GET A TRANSFORMERS ACTION FIGURE,, FOR CHRISTMAS.    
 HIS PARENTS HAD A RULE!  HE COULDN’T GET OUT OF BED,,, UNTILL 5 AM,,, ON CHRISTMAS MORNING,,, TO WAKE THEM UP AND OPEN GIFTS.  BUT THE YOUNG BOY,,, COULDN’T STAND IT,,, SO,,, AT 4 AM,,, HE SNUCK DOWNSTAIRS,,, AND WENT OVER TO THE TREE,,, TO HAVE A PEEK.    
 THE TREE WAS BEAUTIFUL,,, ALL LIT UP,,, WITH ALL THOSE PRESENTS UNDER IT.    
 SOME WERE JUST SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR,,, BUT,,, ONE LOOKED PROMISING,,, AND IT WAS MARKED WITH THE WORDS; “TO JOSHUA”.
 AGAINST HIS BETTER JUDGEMENT,,, HE CAREFULLY OPENED JUST A LITTLE BIT OF THE WRAPPING PAPER AND SAW THAT HE HAD RECEIVED; A “DECEPTICON”. JUST AS HE HAD HOPED!
 THRILLED,,, HE PUT THE WRAPPING PAPER BACK,,, JUST LIKE IT WAS,,, AND HE SNUCK BACK UPSTAIRS.
 ABOUT AN HOUR LATER,,, AT 5 AM SHARP,,, HE WOKE HIS PARENTS AND HEADED DOWNSTAIRS.  MUCH TO HIS SURPRISE HE FOUND A NOTE FROM SANTA,,, THAT EXPLAINED; THAT BECAUSE HE HAD PEEKED AT HIS PRESENT,,, SANTA HAD TAKEN BACK,,, ALL HIS GIFTS.
 FATHER TOLD HIS CONGREGATION,,, THAT HE HAD NOT CRIED THAT HARD,,, ANY TIME IN ALL HIS LIFE.
 IT TURNED OUT,,, THAT IT WAS JUST A PRANK! YOU SEE,,, THE BOY’S BIG BROTHER,,, HAD SEEN HIS LITTLE BROTHER,,, PEEKING AT HIS PRESENT AND HE HAD WRITTEN THE NOTE AND HID THE GIFTS.  AFTER THE PRANK WAS OVER,,, THE GIFTS CAME BACK OUT!
 THE PRIEST,,, USED THIS STORY,,, TO EXPLAIN THAT,,, DURING ADVENT,,, CHRISTIAN’S WAIT IN EAGER ANTICIPATION,,, OF THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS,,, THE COMING OF JESUS!   BUT,,, UNLIKE TOYS,,,    IT’S OK,,, TO TAKE A SNEAK PEEK.
 IT’S OK TO PEEK,,, BECAUSE,,, GOD WANTS US TO ANTICIPATE,,, AND IT’S A PRESENT,,, THAT HE WILL NEVER TAKE AWAY FROM US!
 THE DESIRE TO KNOW THE END,,, IS VERY MUCH A PART OF OUR SOCIETY.
 YOU SEE,,, IF WE KNOW WHEN THE END WILL COME,,, WE CAN DO,,, WHAT EVER WE LIKE,,, NOW.
 IF WE KNOW THE END,,, THEN WE CAN MAKE A FINAL RUSH TO PREPARATION,,, BEFORE,,, THE END COMES,,, AND SO,,, WE CAN DO AS WE LIKE,,, NOW!
 BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, THE PROBLEM IS,,, WE DO NOT KNOW ,,, WHICH OF US WILL LIVE LONG ENOUGH,,, TO SEE TODAY’S SUNSET,,, OR,,, TOMORROWS SUNRISE!
 TODAY’S TEXT FROM MATTHEW,,, SPEAKS OF THE ORDINARINESS OF HIS COMING.  PEOPLE WILL BE EATING AND DRINKING,,, GETTING MARRIED,,, BAPTIZING THEIR CHILDREN,,, WORKING IN THE FIELD.       
 MARTIN LUTHER IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SAID,,, THAT IF HE KNEW,,, THE END OF THE WORLD WAS COMING TOMORROW,,, HE’D PLANT AN APPLE TREE THIS AFTERNOON.  LUTHER WASN’T GIVEN TO SPECULATION OF THE END TIMES.  RATHER,,, HE FOCUSED ON THE PURPOSE OF THE WORLD,,, WHICH GOD INTENDS FOR THE PRESENT TIME.
 WHAT MAY HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE,,, BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, DOES NOT EXCUSE YOU,,, FROM WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU,,, HERE AND NOW!
 IF WE KNOW THE END IS NEAR,,, THE TEMPTATION IS,,, TO HOLD UP,,, IN A BOMB SHELTER,,, OR AN ARMED FORTRESS IN THE MOUNTAINS AND WAIT.
 WE WOULD MOST PROBABLY,,, CREATE A MENTAL FORTRESS,,, OF “US,,, AGAINST THEM”!
 INSTEAD,,, WE’RE TO LIVE WITH THE UNCERTAINTY OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN!  BUT,,, WITHIN A CERTAINTY THAT JESUS CHRIST,,, IS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT,,, RIGHT ALONG WITH US.
 WHEN WE STOP TRYING TO “FIGURE IT OUT”,,, WE FIND THAT WE HAVE THE ENERGY TO LISTEN,,, TO WHAT GOD IS CALLING US TO DO,,, TODAY!
 ADVENT PREPARATIONIS ABOUT REMOVING THE NOISE FROM OUR LIVES,,, SO WE CAN HEAR AND SEE THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST,,, AMONG US,,, TODAY.
 ADVENT IS A TIME TO WATCH,,, SO WE DON’T MISS HIS COMING!       
 WE’RE TO LIVE IN CONSTANT READINESS,,, ATTENTIVE TO JESUS,,, WHO GIVES US HOPE FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW.    
 
 MY BELOVED,,, IF TODAY WAS YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH,,, WOULD YOU BE READY?  HOW WOULD YOU SPEND IT?
 OUR PLACE OF WORSHIP,,, IN OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR CONGREGATION,,, HAVE BEEN VERY MUCH,,, ON BISHOP BOB’S AND MY MIND THIS PAST WEEK. PAUL TELLS US NOT TO NEGLECT BEING TOGETHER.    WE NEED TO MAKE MORE TIME FOR GETTING TOGETHER,,, FOR WORSHIP AND WE NEED TO TAKE OUR TIME TOGETHER,,, SERIOUSLY,,, IN HOPE,,, JOY AND PREPARATION!
 DURING OUR ADVENT SEASONWE NEED TO INCREASE OUR AWARENESS,,, OF HIS COMING AND WE NEED TO LIVE IN THE LIGHT,,, OF THAT DAY,,, BEFORE IT APPEARS.
 ADVENTIS A TIME TO REFOCUS AND REGROUP.  CHRIST CAME AS A BABY,,, AND CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN,,, OF THAT WE ARE ASSURED.
 AS WE BEGIN THE ADVENT SEASON,,, CHRIST COMES INTO OUR MIDST,,, AND THAT’S WHERE THE LIVING IS TODAY,,, IN CHRIST JESUS!
 TODAY,,, WE BEGIN THE ADVENT SEASON         “PREPARING FOR THE REVELATION” ,,   THAT IS,,, THE FULL REVELATION,,, OF JESUS,,, IN THE JOY,,, SORROW,,, LAUGHTER,,, TEARS,,, COMEDY AND THE TRADGEDIES,,, OF OUR DAILY LIVES,,, HERE AND NOW.
 BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, ARE YOU PROPERLY PREPARED TODAY,,, SO THAT YOU CAN SAY:  COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS,,, MY SAVIOR!   
 IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER,,, AND OF THE SON,,, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.  +++