Homily 2nd Sunday Advent. Year A 8th December, 2013
“Repent! This is such a strong word. Yet it really means “to change course.” It means, admitting that our lives are off- course and we must correct trajectory. Sometimes repentance is a total change of course (if we are very far off the correct course)…..and sometimes it is just a slight correction of our direction.
What is our course???? Always and at every moment our course is keeping our eyes on Jesus and his gospel message. Our direction is doing what God wants of us.
So to repent (for us is to seek God's will and to attempt to do God's will). Advent invites us to deepen our awareness of the ways in which God comes into our lives and to seek to live according to God's will. The best example of such following of Jesus is the example of Mary, His mother.
The Prophet Isaiah recognized many centuries ago that we are unable to change our course by ourselves. We need God. We need to have a Saviour. Isaiah, inspired by God, foresaw the Kingdom of God being established……., he speaks of the child who would arrive and be our Saviour. In Advent we are invited to look with the Prophet Isaiah at our world and to recognize that even though the Saviour has come, we are personally still in need of that Saviour. We can also recognize that the world as a whole has not accepted the Saviour.
Yet so many people yearn for the Kingdom that Our Lord has come to establish; where all is peace and all is harmony and where there is no fear but only love and care for one another.
The Letter to the Romans, in the second reading today, puts it this way: Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. We are invited to open our hearts to all others…….. not just some others… but all people… as brothers and sisters in Christ….. part of one big family of God…. This is the heart of the Gospel and the heart of following Jesus as Lord.
So we return to repentance in the Gospel of Matthew today and realize that we are being called by God to this repentance. We are being asked personally by God to change our course into the course of God. We will be given all power and strength to do this if only we set out to do it. Jesus Himself assures us in His life, death and resurrection that we will have life if we follow Him daily.
Let us start now, on this Sunday of Advent, to seek His will, to do His will and always to rejoice in the love that has been given to us. May John the Baptist be our model: for… in all things he pointed to Jesus Christ. His direction, his priorities and his mission was the Kingdom of God which is ushered in… and begins to be established by the coming of Christ,….But we need to clear the obstacles… straighten the paths…. Open our hearts…. and allow God to re-set our direction and focus and our spiritual compass so that it is pointing always and everywhere in the direction of Jesus and his gospel message.. his gospel values… and that this direction is not changed or misdirected by our conflicting values… Like a compass… Christ is the TRUE NORTH…. But there is such a thing as our magnetic north.. which is affected by other things… we must always be on our guard… as John warned the Pharisees and saducees,… to ensure that what they think is the right direction is nothing more than self-direction and their own selfish desires and values and priorities that they havbe fooled themselves into thinking are consistent with Christ’s values… John says.. change your direxction.. fix your gaze upon the true direction.. which is Christ… and change your hearts…. allow God’s challenging, surprising and unsettling ways to direct our lives…. As we prepare the way for the Lord’s coming…./ and set a correct course … with our eyes always on the Lord…. ”1
· 1. This homily is taken from the “MONASTERY OF CHRIST IN THE DESERT. ABBOT’S HOMILY”.
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