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November 29, 2015


First Sunday of Advent

 Looking Towards the Future!

 

 

 

Reading 1

Is 2:1-5

 

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

 

Ps 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Responsorial Psalm

 

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my brothers and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

 

Rom 13:11-14

Reading 2

 

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

 

Mt 24:37-44

Gospel

 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

 

 

 

 

Homily/Sermon

 

We in this household tend to save our plastic empty milk jugs and I then fill them with water, and store some of them in our basement in case of an electrical outage so we will have water to drink and to bathe with.  I like to be prepared in that way.  Also in the trunk of our care is a kit containing a flashlight, blanket, medical supplies, and other items so that we are prepared in case the car would break down on the highway.   We also have a battery operated weather radio in case the power goes off because of severe storms.  It seems like we are a people (at least many of us I suppose) who are always preparing.  We prepare for our children's future education, for vacations, for planting in the springtime, for birthday celebrations, anniversaries, family reunions, and special occasions;  just about anything that is important to us.  And so, I would think that the same holds true for Christmas.

 

It was reported by the media on Saturday, the day after Thanksgiving of course, that over one hundred and fifty million people across America was out Christmas shopping at all the stores and shopping malls, buying all kinds of things for Christmas.  They called that day Black Friday.  And I got at least 25 emails about Black Friday deals.  It was even reported that at some of these stores, people camped out and waited over night till the doors opened in the morning to take advantage of the bargains and sales, which didn't include just yesterday, Friday, but also today, Saturday. I don't know of too many folks camping out in front of our church doors to wait for those to openned for worship on Sunday morning.  But, what about preparing for Christmas, which certainly has more to do with the birth of an infant Jesus, than the buying of gifts and presents?  With half of the people in this country being without a job, I can't image too many gifts being bought, but I suppose many folks will go in debt just so that their kids can have a bountiful Christmas, that is of toys and gifts.  There is nothing wrong with gift giving I suppose, as long as we know the gift that WE will be given, in the birth of the infant Jesus.

 

We can prepare for the celebration of Christmas in more than one way.  We can focus on Christmas as something that happened in the past.  It was in the past that Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, where they could find a place in the inn, or shed, manger, or as some say, a cave.  It was in the past that angels started to sing and shepherds came to find the baby and his mother.  It was in the past that some wise men came from the East, and that Herod got upset about the announced news.  It was in the past that Jesus was circumcised in the temple, where Anna and Simeon came to greet him.  It was in the past that the whole family had to flee to safety, security, and hospitality of a country in Africa called Egypt.  We can eat and drink – in a bar, a cafeteria, a restaurant, a shopping Mall, or even at home – as much as we can, and a bit more, to commemorate that string of events that took place so long ago, once and for all, in the past!

 

We can also prepare for, and celebrate Christmas as something that happens in the present, as in now, meditating upon the graces given to us:  heaven is opened again, a new life is given, a savior is born, and hope is regained.  Alleluia!  Joy to the world!  That is why we called these next four weeks Adent!

 

You know dear friends, there are those who celebrate Christmas by not celebrating it at all.  They say that Christmas does not help, that it has no meaning, that it never did for them, that nothing in the world ever changed:  no new life, no salvation, nothing at all.  They are apparently without hope, without expectation, without anything.  Yet, perhaps they may be the ones who understand best what Christmas is all about.  Perhaps they are the ones looking for an alternative, for a new beginning.  They seem to be the ones most in line with the expectations expressed in the three readings mentioned above:  the alternatives offered by Isaiah, Paul, and Jesus himself.

 

Isaiah says:  "Come, let us go to the mountain of the Lord, let us walk in his paths, let us come together, let us hammer out our swords into plowshares, and let us finish war."

Paul writes:  "The time has come, the night is almost over, and it will be daylight soon.  Let us be awake, so that the light is not going to find us asleep."

Jesus says in the gospel:  "Be prepared, great things are going to happen, get ready, get ready!

 

Folks, those three appeals do not ask us to sit down and eat and drink, to celebrate only the past or merely the present.  We are urged to prepare for Christmas in a way that is directed to the birth of our Lord Jesus;  toward a change in our lives, our attitudes, our relations, towards a change in the world, and in this country, particularily, considering the state of affairs it is in.  Perhaps, preparing for the coming of our Lord and Savior, the infant Jesus, just perhaps, that finally that is happening.  At least the possibility is there.  We are told to walk to the mountain of the Lord, to grow in goodness and community, to live in peace forever, overcoming oppression, overcoming poverty, neglect, abuse, overcoming terrorism and selfishness.

 

Perhaps if we prepare and celebrate Christmas like that, we will be joined by all men and women of good will, forming a pilgrim people who are on the move.  We should not be settled in the past of this world or in its present either, not when it comes to the mission that God has for us.  We should be a people of doer's – in view of what Jesus came for, in view of what the angels sang about at his birth:  "Peace, real peace, His peace, to all of humanity, to all of the universe, despite the moral decay of our government, despite the whims of a tyrant, despite our high alert of terriorsts activity, who seems to be on a quest for anything but Peace, the kind of Peace that we can only find in that child.   For, if we think about it, isn't that what we should be preparing for?  Isn't that what He is watching and waiting for, from all of us, as a response not only to His birth, but more importantly of His death on a cross and his glorious resurrection?"

 

May God bless each of you this coming week, as we continue to pray for all of those who are in need;  the unemployed, the sick, the lonely, the oppressed, and those who are lost to the way of the world.  And most especially for peace!

 

© Deacon Steve

November 28, 2015

 

 

Gods Most Valuable Gift

O Holy night that changed our lives forever,
God sent to earth His most valuable treasure.
Wise men and Sheppard’s traveled far to see,
The new baby born in Bethlehem for thee.
Angels gathered round to protect God’s only Son,
Jesus our Savior He was the chosen one.
The stars in the sky shined brightly that night,
And God chose one to lead everyone with its light.
Joseph and Mary sat silently in awe,
Knowing this baby would one day save them all.
Closely Mary held Him her child she loved so much,
Knowing that one day she would have to give Him up.
How blessed we are, Gods greatest gift we have received,
Sent down from heaven for you and for me.
O Holy night we celebrate each year,
Thanking God above, its Christmas Jesus’ here.

 



Written By Eva Dimel
Inspired By God
November 28th 2010


 

He Is So Wonderful from Steve Politte on Vimeo.

 
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