November 29, 2015 1st Sunday in Advent Fr Jim Miller

First Sunday of Advent
November 29, 2015

Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16

Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Reading 2 1 Thes 3:12—4:2

Alleluia Ps 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us, Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Homily— November 28 & 29, 2015  

            I was reading about a five-year-old boy who had been excited for days because his grandmother was coming to visit.  He was up early on the day she was to arrive and went to his parents’ bedside.  “Is she here yet?” he asked.   “No, she’ll be here after lunch”, his father responded.   The boy said “Oh”.

            By breakfast he had a solution:  He said, “Let’s eat lunch early!”

            The four weeks of Advent before Christmas can seem like an eternity to children but to adults it can fly by too fast.

            Advent tells us to go forward.  Hope is always in the future.  Tradition points the way but can change in the face of surprises.  God is free to do new things, and the biggest surprise of all is that God consults us and invites us to create the future together.

            A week from now, on December 8, Pope Francis will open the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica to begin a Year of Mercy for the church.  He has invited us to get beyond our tendency to make judgments and create conflicts in our lives and in the church.   He speaks of pilgrimage, of missionaries of mercy, of forgiveness through the sacrament and in our personal relationships, of delving into the scriptures to recover the radical message of mercy.

            In the first reading from Jeremiah we recall that God has fulfilled the promise to “raise up for David a just shoot:  he shall do what is right and just in the land.”    We see this “just shoot” as Jesus Christ.

            St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians encourages the people to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all”.   What is keeping us from a greater love for those around us?

            This new liturgical year most of the gospel readings come from the Gospel of Luke.   St. Luke’s Gospel is known as the gospel of women, the gospel of the poor, the gospel of the Spirit, the gospel of prayer and the gospel of forgiveness.

Take time to sit down and read through the gospel of Luke during this season of Advent.

            Blessed John Henry Newman wrote that if we are unable to pray for the coming of Christ then we should not pray for anything.   If we are not praying for a closer encounter with Jesus Christ then the other petitions we have don’t really matter.   What are we doing to be ready for the end of the world?   When Jesus comes will we run and hide or will we “stand erect and raise our heads because our redemption is at hand”.

            Slow down, yes, slow down during this Advent season and take time to reflect on life and where we are headed.   Listen to some Advent music.   Try to have Christmas parties near or after Christmas.   Don’t overspend for Christmas but do make it a real spiritual experience of God’s love.   Don’t get distracted by life activities that make us forget that we are here for salvation through Jesus Christ.  Without salvation it doesn’t matter if your team wins or loses or if you have a ticket to your favorite concert or play or if you win the jackpot in your game of choice.   Remember what matters and you do not have to be afraid.

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