Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don't Snooze Through Advent

Homily from the 1st Sunday of Advent - Year A

Before entering seminary, I worked in advertising.  One of my clients was a home security system company and one of the employees told me an interesting fact: over 90% of alarm systems are installed after a house’s 1st break-in.  Most people don't think about security until after their security is violated.

If you’ve ever had your house broken into, you know how sickening a feeling it is.  A few years ago, my dad asked me to check on his house and bring in the mail while he was on vacation.  One day I drove up and saw that the front door was busted open.  The lock had been broken, pieces of the door were splintered off and laying on the floor.  Then I went upstairs and one of my dad’s file cabinets was pulled open and documents were thrown everywhere.

A burglary like that can leave you with a very foolish feeling and you find yourself making "If only" statements: “If I had only picked up the mail everyday.”  “If I had only gotten an alarm system.”  “If I had only deadbolted the door.”

Today we are cautioned to be awake and alert for Jesus’ coming.  Don’t be caught off guard.  Jesus likens the surprise of his arrival to the unexpectedness of a burglary.  If the master of the house had known when the burglar was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

Every Advent when we think of the coming of Jesus, we tend to think of his coming at Christmas  But this is only his 1st coming.  Today’s Gospel warns us to be prepared for the 2nd coming of Jesus at the end of time.

We should be prepared to meet the Lord as though he could come at any moment.  Because that’s precisely how he will come – at any moment.  He could walk through that door right now.  Are we ready to meet him?

One way we can be prepared to meet the Lord at any given moment is to begin the day with a spirit and attitude of readiness for the Lord. One of my favorite Saints is St. JoseMaria Escriva who espoused something called the heroic minute. The heroic minute is that moment you wake up in the morning. And instead of hitting the snooze button, you wake up and get out of bed immediately, ready to serve the Lord and dedicate the day to him.

St. JoseMaria Escriva says, as soon as we wake up we should say the word, “Serviam” which is Latin for “I will serve!”  Now, I have to admit, when I woke up this morning, I didn't shout "Serviam!" with glee.  It was more of a mumble.  One of my spiritual directors once told me that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who say, "Good morning Lord!"  And those who say, "Oh God, it's morning!"  I'm definitely in the latter category.

Does the heroic minute sound too simple? Try doing it for all of Advent.  Begin each day, ready to serve the Lord.  St. JoseMaria Escriva says of failing to get up right away and hitting the snooze button: “Why allow the first challenge you face to be a defeat!”  The heroic minute is a simple, yet tough, discipline in which we make ourselves ready for Christ at the beginning of each day can imbue in us a spirit of being ready for him in every moment.

Another way we should prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.   Miss Wolf, our 7th and 8th grade teacher put it perfectly in religion class this past week.  She asked her students if there were having any family and friends over for the holidays.  They all said yes.  Then she asked them what they do to get ready.  They said they needed to clean and decorate the house.

We need to do the same thing too.  Because Jesus is coming.
And lastly, if we desire to be judged well by Jesus – if we wish to enter into his kingdom, then perhaps we would do well to follow the path of one who is already there: the Saints.  Read what they’ve written, get to know them.  Jesus has friends – and he wants us to be friends with his friends.  Jesus’ friends are the Saints.  We should be friends with them today by reading their works. 

Just a few suggestions: “The Interior Castle” by St. Theresa of Avila.  “The Autobiography of St. Therese of Liseux.”  “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales.  “The Way” by St. JoseMaria Escriva.

Let this Advent be a time of real renewal - real preparation for meeting the Lord - both this Christmas and at the end of time.  Don’t let this Advent pass you by.  Don’t hit the snooze button and sleep through it.  Let us heed the words of St. Paul from our second reading: “You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. The night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

1 comment:

  1. I knew Miss. Wolf asked us that! I saw you at 12 mass today. I felt sorry for what happen at mass. Right at that time I prayed for you. You just looked like you needed to be prayed for then.