Homily from Sunday December 05th 2021: 2nd Sunday of Advent
What are we to do with Advent? It’s too important to ignore – difficult to observe properly.
Some people complain everything all around us outside is already decorated for Christmas. The parish can seem of step with the rest of the world: But the outside world is not following what we do because we are preparing liturgically by following scripture.
John the Baptist, who would probably be considered a weirdo today, comes upon the scene with urgent words “Prepare the way of the Lord” and he offers a way to do this, the baptism of repentance for forgiveness. Repentance comes to us from the Greek meaning: a turning around and facing another direction; a deep awareness of the need we have for God’s cleansing presence in our lives: Leaving any darkness and facing the light: Turning around and facing another direction.
The Gospel gives another feature of Advent, a kind of wilderness or desert – that is, a place apart from the politics, the intrigue and disputes and problems that surround us all year long. It is a time to carve out a space to be with the Lord in person, to regain vision and keep perspective.
That time is the time where we make ready the way of the Lord. We use this Advent time to encourage God to be able to speak with us.
It is certainly true that God can speak through the events in our life – But is only in the quiet times of a prayer that we learn to recognize God’s voice in the middle of all others.
A personal relationship with Christ is not for a select few. Our relationship with Christ was given to us in Baptism; we may have neglected it but it is perennial for all the baptized.
The outside, secular commercialization of this season has collateral benefits for us. It can remind us to look to our deeper spiritual needs that we all have. The lights and the colours of the season can remind us to look after the beauty and light of our own Spirit. The emphasis on giving gifts can remind us that there is a power in the gift – the care and friendship it represents.
The 3 gifts to us of Advent are a return to the Lord, a place in our life where we can be with Christ, and the light that puts our values in order.
Let’s not allow Advent to run its course without responding to it. Sure, we can ignore it if we want. But we may miss the chance to wait for the Lord to come to our rescue: God’s desire for us is to give over all those sorry, wounded, and distracted places back to God. Give them all back to God and God will bring us home. This happens when we can turn around and face in another direction.