Wednesday, December 12, 2012

HOMILY 2ND Advent Cycle “C” December 9, 2012

 I’d like you to listen again to the beginning of today’s Gospel:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
     when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
     and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
     and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
     and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
     during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
     the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.

The Gospel today begins very unusually.  Gospels usually begin in a very non-descript, amorphous sort of manner; with “at that time”, or “Jesus said to his disciples”, or some indefinite setting like that. But today we hear of these strange places and foreign sounding titles, of Tiberius Ceasar, tetrachs, of Ituraea and Trachonitis, of people named Lysanias and Caiaphas.  It can all seem very distant, and rather unreal, almost like listening to some legend or a fairy tale, another chapter in the Lord of the Rings.  I mean, when is the last time you saw a tetrarch, for crying out loud? 
But in fact, all these were real people, and rather hard-nosed, practical, politicians.  They were powerful, and often ruthless, leaders; men of action who knew how to get things done.  These were real people and real places, enmeshed in the nitty-gritty, day-to-day give-and-take of practical politics. 
Perhaps we would get a better sense of what the Gospel is telling us if we heard:
In the fourth year of the Presidency of Barrack Obama,
when Rick Perry was Governor of Texas,
and John Cornyn United States Senator,
and Lee Leffingwell Mayor of Austin , Julian Castro Mayor of San Antonio,
during the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI,
the word of God came to John in the desert.   

You see, St. Luke is taking care to situate this event squarely on the stage of world events, right smack in the middle of earthly wars, rulers, events and the 6 o’clock news.  This is not at all “once upon a time”, but rather a very definite and precise place and date. 
Now St. Luke has a particular theological reason why he wants the event of John the Baptist painted against the backdrop of world leaders and events, but I believe he is also making the point that the Word of God comes to us in our concrete daily lives.
It is in the real political, social, economic and cultural reality in which we find ourselves that God speaks to us.   It is not in the temple, nor in a synagogue that the Word of God comes to John, but out in the world, in the desert: a hard, difficult, uncomfortable place.  And so for us, we find God at work in our lives, not just in church, but also in the supermarket, at the work place, on the bus or while driving, with family and neighbors and friends and co-workers.  That is where you will find God.
So, let us look at our concrete historical, political, social, economic, cultural situation.  What is it like?  What do you see when you look around?  What do you see on the news?  What do you hear from your boss and co-workers?  What do you see on the street?  What do your kids and neighbors and friends say?  
Maybe you have an excellent job and things are going well for you.  Great!  Maybe your life is filled with disappointments and difficulties.  But for all of us, if you look at the larger issues, of state and nation and world, of the environment and the economy; it’s a mess!   The Middle East is falling apart in front of our eyes.  There are homeless all over the streets.  The economy is shaky and heading for the fiscal cliff.  We’ve just witnessed a super-storm hammer blow on the Northeast, while we continue to suffer from on-going drought.  And the Church, Oh boy!, don’t get me started.  In short, our situation is a mess.  We can feel like we are out in the desert.  So it was for John, son of Zechariah.  And that is where the Word of God came to him.
In response to this mess, we do something strange: we rejoice!  For example we just sang, in the responsorial psalm: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy, we are filled with joy.”  Yeah, right! 
Sometimes I sit up there looking out at the congregation as we sing things like this: “we are filled with joy, we are filled with joy.”  And what I see sometimes doesn’t quite match what we are singing.  In other words, perhaps not everyone here is filled with joy.  In fact, if we brought in the Gallop organization, and did a poll of all of us here right now, I would be willing to bet that not even 50% of us are filled with joy.  Some days I wonder if we could get 5% to admit to that.  And yet we sing, “we are filled with joy!”   Why?
Because we believe the first half of the statement: “The Lord has done great things for us.”  Do we believe that?  Of course we do!  Why else would we be here? 
Well, a few of the younger among us may be forced to come by their parents, others have been drug along by their date or spouse, some others out of force of habit.  But most of us are here because we choose to be here: because we do believe that “The Lord has done great things for us.” 
Let’s get risky here.  How many here actually believe that?  If you believe that the Lord has done great things for you, raise your hand. 
GOOD!  The Lord has done great things for us.  We are getting ready to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us, His own Beloved Son Jesus, at Christmas.  You can’t do better than that. 
God claims us as His own children, shows us the true meaning of life in His Son, and by His Son’s redemptive death and resurrection promises us eternal life, the fullness of life.  Not bad.  Hey,   It’s way better than any BLACK FRIDAY deal you stay up all night far.
And so in the midst of the mess that is our concrete situation in life, we struggle to believe the truly great things the Lord has done for us, and we try to open those creaky, rusty doors of our hearts to joy.  That is why in Advent we sing: “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to you Oh Israel.” 
Advent is a time to listen for the Word of God in the deserts of our life, in the tough and difficult and ornery places, to truly know that “The Lord has done great things for us;” and so to be “filled with joy”.  Happy Advent.  

1 comment:

  1. Avoid the sin if you want to live forever
    The sinner is nothing more than a victim of the evil. Is a sick son who needs to be cured. What father judges and punishes a sick son? Sin is not to offend God and receive a divine punishment but to go against the law of the life and destroy his own spiritual substance as have made the demons with their spirit. It is a detrimental action (such as dip a finger in a glass of sulfuric acid) that causes an immediate and precise death degree of the soul (spiritual deformation) and loss of the domain of the faculties (dementia) and gives to the devil (adherence to evil) the right to inflict a death degree to created equal to the death degree of the sin. The balance of the world are related to the degree of perfection of the man to whom God has subject all things. More increase the sins more increase the forms of aggressiveness and death in the animal kingdom (food chain), the devastation in the environment and diseases, calamities, disasters and death they fall on innocent creatures to allow time to sinners to convert and be saved from eternal damnation. The Lord intervenes continuously for the salvation of the sinners and the preservation of the species but the sins are growing to the point that it is becoming impossible any form of balance because the death degrees of the human activities (slaughter, hunting, fishing, deforestation, pollution) prevent it. Of this step the sins begin to fall on the sinners and will be the ruin. God is infinite love and mercy and seeks the good of all creatures but cannot do anything if the Church does not fight the sin (discloses this flyer)and pray for the sinners (crown to the Divine Mercy). Do this before it is too late beginning to explain to the faithful that every sin is a degree of death that kills the soul and destroys created: 1) offend God and your neighbor 2) steal 3) lie 4) inflict suffering and death to self (smoking, alcohol, drugs= suicide) and other creatures (where there is life there is God with His spirit) 5) have sex out of marriage 6) practicing masturbation 7) Do not keep the parties commanded by the Church.

    The Rosary: a necessity for every Christian

    The scale of the degree of perfection that lead to the holiness (which is the wisdom of speech, vision of God and the manifestation of the powers of the spirit: There are no healers and exorcists, but the Saints they do the two things together) you climb only shots of prayers and communions enduring the inevitable tribulations, humiliations and sufferings that follow (the attacks of the malignant opposer). There are no other roads. The cells of the mind do not generate insights, thoughts and reasoning but they receive them from the soul under the influence of the spirit. And as it the world is under the dominion of Satan Gio.5 [19]: this is holy for those who pray and malignant for all other. It means that in absence of the prayer we do not have the FREE WILL. Is for this reason that in all apparitions the Blessed Virgin Mary asks the daily recitation of the Rosary because the influence of the devil is continuous while the PROTECTION of the prayer run out. As taught St. Padre Pio is necessary to recite it three times a day (8-15-20) for all life to conquer and retain the domain of the faculty. Differently, through the THROAT, the SENSE and INTELLECT, satan drags you in the sin until the dementia to inflict death degrees to the create (illness, disasters, accidents) and receive energy while you deform the soul and risk the ETERNAL DAMNATION. If your priest listens God will tell you to keep the commandments, confess once a month, receiving the Eucharist (eliminates the deformations of the forgiven sins by the soul) and recite every day for all life the Rosary. Differently prays for him (release from the influence of the devil) and search for another.