Sunday, December 4, 2011

Prepare! What Sort of Persons Ought We to Be?

Homily from the 2nd Sunday of Advent - Year B

Last week’s Gospel had a very clear theme of watching for the Lord.  This week’s readings also have a very clear theme: one of preparing for the Lord’s coming.

The prophet Isaiah says “In the desert prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”  And then, in today’s Gospel, the prophecy is fulfilled: John the Baptist comes out of the desert preaching repentance for one mightier than he is coming.

Isaiah and John the Baptist are talking about preparing a way for Jesus to enter into our hearts.  It’s very simple really. There is no greater joy in life than the life of Christ in us.

Jesus is coming. Not just at Christmas; but at the end of our days.  Are we ready to meet him?  If he were to walk through that door right now, would we be ready?

St. Peter asks us a very loaded question in today’s second reading: “What sort of persons ought you to be? Waiting for and hastening for the coming of the day of God.”

What should we be doing to make ourselves ready for the coming of the Lord?  How should we prepare a way for him to enter our hearts?  I would like to suggest to you four ways for you to truly come to know Jesus more intimately.

The first one is easy because you’re already doing it right now.  Receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  There is no greater way to enter into intimacy with Jesus than by receiving his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity within our very persons.  Receive him as often as you can.  Prayerfully consider coming to additional Masses throughout the week.  Take a look at the Mass schedule in the bulletin.

Second, come to our parish Advent Penance service Monday, December 19th.  Prepare a way for the Lord by allowing Him to lower the mountains of sin and fill in your valleys with grace.  Let the Sacrament of Reconciliation make a straight path for Jesus to enter into your heart.

Buy "Catholicism" here.
Third; maybe some of you saw a television series lately on PBS or EWTN called “Catholicism.”  It’s hosted by a very powerful preacher Fr. Robert Barron.  He explains with clarity the beauty of our Catholic faith.  Everything from the Trinity, to Jesus Christ, Mary and the Saints, the Church, the Mass and Sacraments, Prayer, Heaven, Hell and everything in between.  And it’s done beautifully; Fr. Robert explains the mysteries of the faith, showing amazing locations such as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, St. Peter’s in Rome, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Lourdes, and so on.  It’s ten episodes long and guess what? We’re going to give you the opportunity to see all ten.  Beginning Monday, January 16th, we’re going to show this series for ten straight Monday nights in the Spiritual Center.  The first episode is about who the person of Jesus Christ is and the the second episode focuses on his teachings.

And lastly, come to know Jesus Christ through your daily personal prayer.  Every year in the Church, we hear from a particular Gospel writer.  Today we began the Gospel of Mark and we’ll be hearing it throughout the year.  I want to suggest that you pray the entire Gospel of Mark this year.  Pray a small passage from Mark every day.  Begin today with today’s Gospel.  Spend a few minutes, reading the Gospel slowly and prayerfully.  Then think about what God is saying to you in the passage.  Then offer Him a prayer in return. It’s that simple.  And each day, pray through the next passage until you reach the end.

If you want to know Jesus more, come to know him by praying the Gospels.  Especially the Gospel of Mark in which people are continually asking, “Who is this Jesus?”  When Jesus calms the storm at sea the disciples ask, “Who is this whom even wind and sea obey?”  This Gospel answers the question in the very first verse. “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”  It answers it again right in the middle. When Jesus asks the Apostles who they say he is, Peter responds firmly, “You are the Messiah.”  And it answers it a third time at the end, when Jesus breathes his last on the cross, the centurion standing there says, “Truly, this man was the Son of God!”

Everyone I know wants to know Jesus more.  It’s the greatest desire of the human heart: union with the divine.  That’s why we’re drawn to enter into union here on earth; to get ready for divine union.  Come to know Jesus more this Advent through his Word and Sacraments.

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