Homily — 1st Sunday Advent B Nov. 30, 2008

Homily — 1st Sunday Advent B                Nov. 30, 2008

In this rather short Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, Our Lord Jesus says the following:

 Be watchful!

Be on the watch.

Watch, therefore.

What I say to you, I say to all:  “Watch!”

The lesson Jesus is trying to convey to us is that we need to “Watch, watch, watch, and watch.”

Now, in our modern world, we watch a movie or a patriots game.  We wear a watch around our wrist.    But these are not what Jesus means when He tells us to watch.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives 3 other definitions of the Verb “watch” which get at what Jesus is speaking about:

1.to . . . .stay awake intentionally, or to keep vigil

2.to be on the lookout for danger

3.to lie in wait for, so as to take advantage of

All these are what Jesus means when He tells us to “watch”

First, we are to keep ourselves from falling asleep.  Jesus isn’t referring to physical sleep; Jesus actually would want us to get more sleep than we do and stop losing sleep over all these things we worry about.  And as the proverb goes, “A good night’s sleep is the sign of a clean conscience.”  Jesus would also want us to not have guilt keep us awake at night.

Jesus rather wants us to be Spiritually Awake, and Morally Awake.  In this world we live in, it is all too easy to grow tired of trying to do good.  We can grow tired of trying to follow Jesus, we can be tempted to want to rest and take it easy like all the pagans we live around.   But Jesus says to us “Watch!”  Stay awake intentionally, rouse yourself, for you do not want to be asleep when I come again.  Advent is a time to rouse ourselves spiritually in preparation for Jesus’ coming at Christmas and on Judgment Day.

Secondly, “to watch” means to be on the lookout for Danger.  We are called by Jesus to be on the watch for things in this world that can wound or destroy our relationship to Jesus, namely sin.  And so Advent is a time to watch how we’ve been behaving lately, and to repent of our sins by making a good confession in preparation for Christmas.  The one thing Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to give our sins to Him in the confessional.  And this Advent we’ll have lots of opportunity to get to confession; which I’ll tell you about in a minute.

Lastly, to watch means to lie in wait for, so as to take advantage of (For example, Christmas shoppers are “watching” for sales in the newspaper these days).  Advent is a time to “lie in wait” for Jesus to come near us, to be “on the watch” for opportunities to grow in Faith Hope and Love.

And this Season of Advent holds many opportunities to grow closer to Jesus and to serve our neighbor, especially here at our parish.

So, here are some things we can do to rouse ourselves this Advent:

First:  We have at the doors of the Church these two little Advent Prayer Books:  Magnificat and the Word Among Us.  (we also give the daily Mass readings each week in the parish bulletin.  In Advent, the Readings for Daily Mass are very inspiring.)

Second: We’re having a Parish Mission this Advent, a week from Monday, Dec. 8 to Thursday, Dec. 11 every night at 7 p.m. in the Church.  We’ve cancelled Mon. evening CCD, girl scouts, Thurs. Legion of Mary, we even cancelled Bingo Tues night December 9, so that everyone can get an opportunity to attend the Mission and draw close to Jesus during these troubled times.

Preaching the mission will be three priests from a the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance, from the Boston Archdiocese.  Four brothers in the order who are studying for the priesthood will also be here.  I’ll be housing seven of them next week.

These Franciscan Friars try to live just like St. Francis of Assisi lived, in total poverty, relying totally on God’s Providence for everything.  They don’t own cars, TVs, computers or phones.

And get this:  they will be coming to our parish from Boston, about 60 miles away, on foot.   It should be a very good mission, try to attend all or some of it, starting next Monday night, Dec. 8 to Thursday Dec. 11.

And each Day of the Mission,  the Friars will be in the confessional All Day from 8 a.m. in the morning to 7 pm in the evening, and they’ll go back in the confessional after the Evening Mission Mass and Talk, so that everyone will be able to have an opportunity to get to confession.

And we are going to set it up like the All Day Confessions, with Big Signs on where to sit, soothing music in the background, literature on How to Go to Confession.  So take advantage of this golden opportunity to give Jesus the gift of making a good confession before Christmas.

We’ll also be having another Traditional Latin High Mass on Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, which if you’ve never been to one I would highly recommend you go.  A Sixth Grader who went to last month’s Mass for the first time said afterward “That was so cool — I was scared to go up to communion!”  Experience the Awesomeness of God as that sixth grader did by attending the Traditional Mass this Advent.

Finally, there’s also a lot of opportunities at our parish this Advent to show charity to our neighbor in preparation for Christ’s coming.   Next Sunday we’ll have our annual Blood Drive in the Fr. Blain Hall, we again have our giving Tree up in the back of the Church this weekend and next weekend, and we’re asking parishioners to bring in new clothing for infants, children, pre-teens and teens who are in need; The School is collection used clothing, and the Bishop is collecting donations to help Keep the Heat on in poor and low income families homes.

So as we begin this grace filled season of Advent, may we rouse ourselves to Watch, Watch, Watch, Watch for the coming of Christ into our hearts this Christmas, in preparation for His coming in Glory at the end of our lives.

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