2nd Sunday of Advent year A, 2016. A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. May nothing hinder us from receiving Christ with joy!
I can’t believe how many bargains are in the shops this year? Now is the time to buy! Deliveries can be made right to your front door by 6.00 PM Christmas Eve. Really? What about the Boxing Day Sales? I always thought that they were the very best sales of the year? So, with what we hear on Radio Advertisements, and see on T.V; let alone all the adverts that come through to us on our Tablets or iphones, and other devices, there is enough energy to make us down tools, shop on line, or hop in the car, and go to Bunning’s now!
In the Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent year A, there is a very different kind of energy being generated, which really urges us to stand up, listen and act on it! There is electricity in God’s Word today; a charge which calls us to STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN! As we take time to carefully engage with God’s Word from the Prophet Isaiah today, we can hear him speaking with great enthusiasm, with an urgency that he cannot contain. He speaks as though he is at Echo Point in the Blue Mountains, 70 miles or so west of Sydney; the Spirit of God within him, causes great gusto in the Word that is being proclaimed, and one can imagine it echoing around the valleys and gorges of the whole world. But there is something even more amazing about this reading; he was proclaiming The Word of God when Israel was at an all time low! Within their depressed corporate state of mind, this tremendous prophecy looks forward to a time when God will be so involved with his people, that a whole new world order will take place…Growth and Hope, and Peace, will be the result of God’s intervention and our response to His call. This change in the world order is initiated by Jesus; continuing in and through His mystical Body the Church, and fully accomplished when Christ will come again to us in Glory. COME, LORD JESUS!
The Gospel portrays John the Baptiser as the prime mover in calling God’s people to respond to the invitation of Repentance, as a prerequisite for the filling in the valleys of indifference in our hearts, and the grinding down of the mountains of pride and arrogance which can cause us to have hearts of stone. When personal and communitarian Repentance is happening, the Highway becomes straight! Repentance! What is that all about? Some years back, when I was stationed at St.Joseph’s in Highgate, North London, I would often go to Marble Arch on Sunday afternoons to hear the Speakers, at Speakers Corner, just a stone’s throw from the humble shrine of Tyburn Hill.
Knowing me as you do, it was more than listening…I used to like to get involved with questions. One Protestant Preacher was giving a fire and brimstone Sermon on Repentance. He said,” you must Repent or you will be damned.” I don’t know why he was looking at me, and with that he said, “Sir, have you Repented?” I swiftly responded by saying: “Repentance from my understanding is not a once and for all event!”It is an ongoing condition”. Then he said in a slightly gruff voice because I didn’t answer yes or no, “Have you Repented?” I said, “Yes, but I need to do more” He then took his eyes off me…..thank goodness….I felt as small as threepence!
Repentance is more than wanting, it is actually doing; doing what? Seeing and living in the world differently, trying to live like Christ! It is like seeing the world as if we were standing on our hands….the world order is different because of the response that we have taken to the invitation to Repent. John the Baptiser is saying exactly that to us! He was looking forward to the time when the Messiah will ask all to see the world through the Messiah’s eyes, to listen with His ears, and to truly love from the heart with the Cross deeply imbedded in it. Now is the time to do a rain check on what Spiritual preparation are we doing this Advent. Now is the time to get the Family to Parish Reconciliation Services, and share as a Community in the abundance and knock on effects of Reconciliation. COME, LORD JESUS!
First, plant four rows of peas.
Next to them plant three rows of Squash.
Then plant lettuce.
Let us be truthful.
Let us be loyal.
Let us be faithful.
Let us love one another.
No garden is complete without turnips.
Turn up for the Eucharist.
Turn up for Community Reconciliation Service before Christmas.
Turn off the computer and TV.
Turn up for ‘Prayer’ at home
Turn up for sharing of family life and stories around the Dinner table at home.
Turn up to celebrate with the Parish
Community that you belong to and call ‘home’.
Turn up on time!
Turn off your Mobile ‘phone before you pray with the community!
Fr Kevin Walsh