Homily — 1st Sunday Advent A November 28, 2004 “The Divine Thief”

Homily — 1st Sunday Advent A November 28, 2004

Carey Grant in Hitchcocks To Catch a Thief

There’s a new movie out that looks really good called “National Treasure.” It’s stars Nicolas Cage as a man named Benjamin Franklin Gates who decides to steal the Declaration of Independence.

I was hoping to see it Friday with my sister and my 10 year old nephew, but instead I saw for the second time with him the movie “The Incredibles,” which I highly recommend middle aged people to go and see but that movie has really nothing to do with this present homily.

Why is it that movies about big robberies like “National Treasure” and “Matchstick Men” make millions of dollars at the box office? Should the Church worry about such a fascination with people who are masters at breaking the 7th Commandment?

Maybe, just maybe we like these movies because there is something Christ-like about thieves.

For my brothers and sisters, we believe that the greatest, most successful thief in history is Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In today’s Gospel and three other times in the New Testament, Jesus tells us He is like a thief. “If you knew what hour the thief was coming, you would stay awake,” Jesus says. So too, you also must be prepared for my coming. In the book of Revelation Chapter 16 Jesus says Behold I am coming like a thief.

If that isn’t enough to convince us, Ss. Peter and Paul tell us in their New Testament Letters that the Day of the Lord will come upon us like a thief in the night.

Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again as a Thief. Like Nicolas Cage, or the Pink Panther.

We shouldn’t really be surprised or scandalized that when Jesus comes again to this earth, He will come as a theif. Because the first time He came to this earth and was born in a manger in Bethlehem, He came as a thief as well.

The baby Jesus, our God, was born to steal. Christ came into this world for the sole purpose of committing the biggest robbery in world history. And by the time He had finished His life in this world, Jesus had stolen from Satan thousands of priceless human souls right from under the devil’s nose.

To pull off a burglary like that takes real talent. So we all better wise up because Jesus tells us four times in Scripture that when He comes again, it’s us He plans to steal from, so Watch Out!

Now, when Jesus comes again, what is He going to steal from us? He stole valuable things from the devil, but when He comes again Jesus the thief will steal not valuable things from us but worthless things from us.

One day, we know not when, Jesus the Thief will sneak into your house and steal your house away from you. He’ll will one day rob you of your car, your computer, your toys. Your savings, your IRA, your investments will no longer be yours on the day the thief comes.

Even the dreams you dream will be taken from you: your dreams of a bigger house, of a better job, of fame and fortune, of a summer home by the ocean — all will be snatched away by Christ the Thief.

And finally, one day you will wake up in the morning, and before 24 hours have gone by, the very earth you stand upon and air you breath will be stolen from you forever, and the body you now have will be stolen from your possession.

But again, all these things Jesus steals from us have no ultimate value at all, they are worthless in Christ’s eyes. He steals them from us only so that He can give us much better and lasting things in return.

Will there be anything that Jesus won’t steal from us when He comes again? Yes. Four things.

First of all, He won’t steal from you or me Faith Hope or Love. Whatever amount of Faith in Him you possess, whatever Hope in Him you have clung to, and whatever Love you have in your soul will never be stolen away by Jesus. Rather, they will be your only valuable possessions when you stand naked before God on Judgment Day.

But there’s one other thing that Jesus won’t steal from you or me when He comes again, one other thing Jesus makes you keep for the Day of Judgment and that’s your sins.

Remember in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” how the Grinch goes into Cindy Lou Who’s room while she’s sleeping and slips the Candy Cane out of her hand? Well, Jesus doesn’t ever steal our sins away like that, or any other way.

Jesus never steals our sins from us, we have to give our sins to Him for Him to take them! To get rid of serious sin, we have to with eyes wide open walk into that confessional, kneel down behind the screen and say aloud before the priest “Jesus I’ve missed Mass, Jesus I’ve hated by neighbor, I’ve been unchaste, I’ve had other gods in my life over you. Here are all my sins, forgive me.”

It’s so easy in this busy world of ours to bury our sins under all the stuff that’s in our life. But the day of the Lord comes like a Thief, when Jesus will take away everything from us to see what kind of man or woman lies underneath.

There’s one final analogy I wish to make. You could argue the case, but to me the greatest movie thief ever is Jason Bourne. Yes, he’s really a secret agent and not a thief by profession, but if I needed to get someone to sneak into a place under tight security and steal something, Jason Bourn’s the man.

Jesus says in Revelation Chapter 3 if you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you.

Those who are proud, or hard hearted, or indifferent about God, Jesus deliberately hides from. And believe it you proud sinners, He’s even better than Jason Bourne at slipping through life undetected by His enemies.

If we think we’re smarter than Christ, or that we’re above believing in this old fashioned Catholic Religion with all its behind the times rules and regulations, there’ll come a time when Jesus stops trying to convert us and starts trying to hide His grace from us. There’ll come a time when Jesus will stop speaking plainly to us and start speaking only in confusing parables to us.

Jesus is always one step ahead of his enemies, He outfoxes the cleverest fox.

But this holy season of Advent is a time when Jesus steps out of hiding and begs His enemies to wake up and make peace with Him while there’s still time.

And even if we’re pretty sure we aren’t big sinners, Advent is still a time when all of us need to make sure the burglar alarm we received at our Baptism is in proper working order.

May we spend these next four weeks keeping prayerful watch in the night for that Blessed Thief, may all of us have our doors unlocked and the guard dogs chained up, and all those worthless possessions we cling to out in the open to give Him when He comes.

And may Jesus steal from us and from our world all that is not good for us, and then give us in exchange His priceless gifts of love, grace and peace this Christmas.

(Note: Jesus is referred to as a thief in the following passages of scripture: Rev 16:15, 3:3, 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thess 5:2, Lk 12:39, Mt 24)

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