Homily for December 4

A prop I used today's homily
Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

So, what do you think you’re getting for Christmas this year?
--  not what you’re getting for others --
but on Christmas morning,
what do you think you might find under the tree, tagged for you?
Maybe you won’t have a tree.
Perhaps you no longer exchange gifts with others
or have others with whom to exchange gifts…
Maybe you’re the kind of person who tells others,
 “Don’t get me anything for Christmas - I don’t need a thing!”
Or if you’re a young person, it could be that you have a whole list
of things  you think - or at least you hope
you’re getting for Christmas.

Well, suppose on Christmas morning you wake up
and find this gift under the tree with a tag that reads:
“For you - from Jesus.”
A Christmas gift from Jesus to you?
I know at this time of year I usually caution us to remember that
it’s HIS birthday and he should get the presents - not us.
And while I’m not changing my mind on that, I will add this:
Jesus just might have a gift for you and me, for each of us.

Do you know what was the original Christmas gift?
Don’t be too hasty in your reply:
the first Christmas gifts did NOT come from the magi from the east,
following the star to Bethlehem.

The first Christmas gift came from God and the gift was precious indeed:
God gave us his only begotten Son:
Jesus himself was the first Christmas gift
and Jesus was a great and generous gift giver.
• He gave us the gospel,
the good news of his Father’s love for us.
• And he gave us a new commandment,
that we love one another.
• And he gave us a new teaching on how to live and love,
a teaching filled with truth and wisdom.
• And in the end, Jesus gave us everything he had:
out of love for us, he gave his life for us on the Cross.
• And in his suffering and dying
he gave us hope of eternal life.
• And after he rose from the dead he gave us the gift of his Spirit
to live in our hearts and lead us and guide us in life.
Jesus is the original gift that keeps on giving.

And that’s why I’m sure he has a gift for each of us this Christmas.
Jesus knows exactly what each of us needs this Christmas.
(He also knows exactly what each of us wants for Christmas,
but what we need and what we want are sometimes different
and Jesus knows the difference better than we do.)

• So, do you need the gift of greater harmony in your family?
Jesus has that in stock!
• Do you need the gift of peace of mind?
Jesus has that in every possible model and color.
• Do you need the gift of relief from worries and fears?
He’s got that in Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large and Extra Wide!
• Do you need the gift of forgiveness?
He’s got that in One Size Fits All - and it really does!
• Do you need the gifts of faith, of hope, of love?
No other supplier offers these in the exquisite quality Jesus does.
AND…  on these gifts there’s free delivery
no shipping or handling charges!
AND… all these gifts are insured -- at no extra charge!
AND…  all these gifts are guaranteed by the Creator
the Creator of all things “visible and invisible!”

Does it all sound too good to be true?
Well, I did notice there’s a little “fine print” on the bottom of this gift box.
To begin with, it says here:
- This gift contains no magic!
• Gifts from Jesus don’t instantly, magically, solve all our problems -
nor does Jesus promise that.
• More fine print:
This gift requires some assembly…
Which means once you receive your gift you have to work with Jesus
to put it together in your own life and circumstances.
More fine print:
This gift does not come with batteries.
Gifts from Jesus require  that you supply some energy, 
some personal power, to make them function in your life.
• And more fine print:
This gift is for 2, 3 or more players.
Gifts from Jesus are meant to be shared:
they invite and require the participation of others in our lives.
• Oh - and it says here
You see, Jesus really does know what we need
and that’s exactly what he’ll give each one of us
and we can’t send back what Jesus knows we need
to exchange it for something we want.
He asks us to trust him on this.

• And finally…
well, this is so obvious that I hesitate to mention it,
but it says here:
Gift must be unwrapped before using.
You see, Jesus’ gifts won’t matter, or work, or please or help us
if we don’t unwrap them and start to use them.
Many of us have a number of gifts Jesus gave us over the years -
but we’ve never unwrapped them,
never looked to see what they are, how we might use them
and how they might help us.
There are some gifts that sit for years, unopened,
under a little Christmas tree in our hearts.

Well, that’s the fine print. 
But in very LARGE , bold print,
both the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist  tell us today
to Prepare the way of the Lord!

That’s sound advice, that’s wise counsel, that’s good news
because Jesus is coming with gifts for every one of us
and we’d be smart to clear the way
for him to get to our hearts.

And if you have a hard time finding the gift with your name on it,
pray… and ask Jesus to help you see not so much what you want,
but more - what you truly need.

You may have noticed I’ve left out one gift of Jesus
that I mention in almost every homily
but, as I usually do, I’ve saved that for the end.

Jesus gave us the gift of his life on the Cross, once, for all,
but every time we gather at this table, his altar,
he offers us the gifts of his life, his healing, his mercy and his peace.

As he does in every gift he offers us,
in the Eucharist Jesus gives us himself, with all his love -
because he truly is the Giver who keeps on giving…


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