Homily for December 15

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent
Scriptures for today's Mass

• Is there anything that stands in the way of your having, this year,
the best Christmas possible?
Could be there is… And what might that be?
Maybe the prophet Isaiah named that for you in the first reading:
feeble hands, weak knees, fears and anxieties.
Or maybe it’s bigger than that.
Is there a desert with dunes of sadness or disappointment
stretching between you and the peace and joy of Christmas?

• Is there a problem, a difficulty, a burden you carry,
some worry weighing on your heart?
A grudge, a resentment or a broken relationship
that impairs your vision and slows your step on the Advent path
leading to Christmas?

• Is there an unanswered prayer or an unfulfilled dream
testing your faith and trying your patience?

• Are you waiting and longing to hear even just a little good news?

• Does it seem that hope is in short supply?

The Christmas season often intensifies
the brokenness some folks live with
and the burdens they carry day in and day out.

• No one wants to feel or experience any of this -
especially at this time of year - and yet…
It’s for just such people - and in one way or another, that’s all of us -
it’s for just such folks that God’s Word became flesh
and was born some 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem,
in the person of an innocent, beautiful child named Jesus.

All those problems… that’s why God came to us:
to come with healing, forgiveness, mercy and peace…

• What a shame it would be if we let all the tinsel and glitter
and the Ho-Ho-Ho’s back drive us even deeper into the shadows
and keep us from greeting the One who came precisely
to quench our thirst for joy,
to rescue us from deserts of despair,
to lighten the load we shoulder,
to anoint the wounds of our worry,
to encourage and strengthen us in our fears,
to heal our hearts burdened by grief and broken by loss,
to open our eyes to what’s yet to be seen,
to speak a word of promise, of hope and good news
and to be the answer to our prayers  
- especially when it seems that our prayer has no answer…

• The birth of Jesus is God’s response to the pain and brokenness
all of us know at least at one time or another in our lives.
• The life of Jesus is the path God provides for us
when the road we travel is too treacherous to tread.
• The gospel of Jesus is God’s Word of Wisdom, spoken
to help us discern what’s true, just, pure,  honorable,
real - and truly good for us and for others.
• The suffering and death of Jesus
show the depths of his love and assure us that:
no matter how dire our straits,
how low our spirits fall,
how heavy the burdens we carry,
how difficult the journey we walk,
it’s all of this that ultimately leads us to peace,
the peace of the child born in a stable in Bethlehem.

Advent is meant to be a season of hope -but what might that mean?
Let me share with you a definition of hope offered by Reubem Alves,
a Brazilian theologian who wrote:

What is hope?
• It is the presentiment that imagination is more real
(and reality less real) --   than it looks.

• Hope is the hunch
that the overwhelming brutality of facts that oppress and repress us
- is not the last word.
• Hope is the suspicion that reality is more complex
than the realists want us to believe -
that the frontiers of the possible
are not determined by the limits of the actual
and that in a miraculous and unexplained way,
life is opening up creative events which will open the way
to freedom and resurrection.

• Advent is a season for betting on the hunch, the intuition, the faith,
that it’s GOD  who’ll have the last word
on all our trials and tribulations
because Advent is the season for remembering
that God’s first word on our grief was his Word-made-flesh, JESUS,
whose birth we prepare to celebrate.

• Your problems and difficulties
may be keeping your spirits low these days
but don’t hesitate in this Advent time to lift up your burdens
to the One who offers to carry them on his back.

• And don’t hesitate to call your own heart to rejoice:
not to rejoice in any sorrow or pain that may be yours
but to rejoice in the One who comes from God, rejoice in Jesus
who is himself no stranger to all that weighs us down.

• Now, if you’re in great spirits these days with nary a care in the world -
God love you, God bless you! I’m happy for you!
And please, don’t let my words here diminish your seasonal joy.
If you’ve already found the joy of Christmas,
hold on to it - and share it with others!

• And if my words have struck a chord with you,
don’t let them make your burden any heavier than it already is.

• Rather, let’s all of us,
the burdened and the unburdened,
let’s all of us come to the Lord’s Table, the altar of his love,
where he gives us again what he offered in his birth at Bethlehem
and what he offered for us on the Cross:
his presence and wisdom in the Word we just heard;
his Body and Blood, his mercy and love
in the Bread and Cup of Communion.
And  all of this that we might find
joy when our hearts are heavy,  
hope when all seems bleak
and peace,
that deep and joyful peace
that’s only his to give:
the peace of Christmas…


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!