Homily — 3rd Sunday Advent Dec. 16, 2007

Homily — 3rd Sunday Advent                Dec. 16, 2007

The festive Rose colored vestments on the priest, the flowers in front of the Altar, and the rose colored candle on the Advent wreath this Gaudete Sunday emphasize the joyful aspect of this entire Advent Season.

Advent the Church teaches us is a Season of Joyful Waiting.   Notice how the Wreath has 3 Purple and 1 Rose candle.  This is to remind us that Advent is 3 parts Waiting mixed with 1 part Joy.

That Christianity mixes Waiting and Joy together and gets away with it is a miracle in itself.  In this world we live in, joy and waiting are like oil and water — they cannot be mixed together at all.

For example, this past Thurs., Fr. Marcin left our Rectory at 2 pm in the afternoon to head for St. Pius X Rectory in Westerly, where he was going to spend his day off.   He got to Westerly at 6:30, after getting stuck for 4 ½ hours in the gridlock on 295 and 95.   I don’t think there was much joy on the highways as people waited in the traffic during the storm.

Fr. Marcin told me that the gridlock where he was was all due to two lightweight cars which initially got stuck in the snow and blocked all traffic on a 2-lane stretch of 295 south.    In some ways that is a good image of Original Sin.  Adam and Eve had a spin-out on the road to Eternal Life which left everyone behind them unable to get their either.

But just as joy comes when the stuck cars are cleared away and the traffic starts moving again, Joy came into our world when Christ came and cleared our sins away, freeing the gridlock of sin which was blocking up the Highway to Heaven.

And this is how we Catholics can have joy in the midst of waiting — through the Hope Jesus has given us.   Hope gives joy to the time of waiting.

Pope Benedict just came out with an encyclical letter on the Virtue of Hope called “Spe Salvi — In Hope We Were Saved”.  Title is a quote from  Romans 8:24.   The Pope wishes to remind us what a great Joy it is to have the Gift of Hope Christ gives us, and what need there is in today’s world for Christian Hope.

The Pope comments on how in the past few hundred years, our western world has by and large gone away from hoping in Jesus and turned more and more to hoping in science.    While science has brought about a greater quality of life in the world, through medical advances for instance, it has at the same time brought about a greater misery as well, through deadlier weapons for instance.

Ultimately, Pope Benedict says, the only lasting hope that can bring meaning and direction to all other hopes is Jesus Christ.    In Christ we have the certain hope of being unconditionally loved by God who is helping us at all times.  In Christ we have the hope of an Eternal Life of peace and happiness after this life.  In Christ we have the hope of seeing our deceased loved ones again, and being with them forever in the next life.  In Christ we have the hope of directing science and human knowledge to only serve humanity and not to enslave it.

And this Hope Christ gives us fills us with Joy, and gives us the grace and perseverance we need to Wait for the coming of His Kingdom.    May Christ fill us with His Gift of Hope, that we like John the Baptist, and the prophets before Him, may patiently and joyfully watch for His coming.

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