Before I get into the heart of the matter, two little commercials.
First, if you are taking part in the Consecration to Jesus through Mary,
working through the book we passed out,
please turn in those cards from the books.
You can put them in the collection
or drop them off at the parish office.
And second, remember the retired members of religious orders.
They gave all they had for us,
and now they are elderly and need care in their late years.
They took vows of poverty, giving up wealth and bank accounts.
They depend on our generosity.
Please give to the second collection for them.
Now, let’s back up to the first reading we heard.
The prophet Baruch lived at a time when everything had gone to pieces.
God’s People had gone through a long, slow decline,
in their political fortunes, in their moral state,
and in their spiritual lives.
Finally their nation is destroyed
and the Jewish people are scattered to the four winds,
an utter catastrophe.
What does Baruch say?
Hang on: there will be a return, not in shame, but in splendor.
That fits pretty well with John the Baptist who says, prepare the way!
The “return” that Baruch and John are interested in
is above all about a reunion of our hearts with God.
Baruch, among others, hoped to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem
that had been destroyed.
That temple was understood as a place where humanity could return
to a kind of paradise – in which God and humanity are together again.
But remember what Jesus revealed: he, himself, is the temple.
You and I are reunited with God
In being baptized and confirmed in the Holy Spirit,
And in sharing in his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.
And when we forget we belong to God and depart Paradise through sin,
the sacrament of confession opens the way again to the Tree of Life,
which is the Holy Mass,
where you and I eat the fruit of the tree of life.
So it’s another Sunday of Advent, and Christmas is two weeks away.
Everything on TV, the radio, in stores and restaurants,
Is of course, already Christmas, Christmas!
What is this time of Advent, what does it really mean?
I said this last year, and I’ll say it again:
Advent is really about eternity, about heaven.
It’s about that reunion with God that will be complete
and will last forever.
What about Christmas?
That’s about heaven, too! Why did Jesus come?
To create business opportunities for the post office, Wal Mart, Amazon and UPS? No!
He came in time, in Bethlehem, a long time ago, as a down-payment of heaven.
Jesus came to give us a little bit of heaven here on earth,
so we would not be like the people Baruch was talking to,
who were so beat down and tempted to give up.
So tempted to say, we’re lost, we have no hope.
So if you are feeling discouraged;
If you are sad or blue, as sometimes people do at this time of year;
If the darkening days dim your mood;
If God seems far away, or your life seems a wreck;
If news from here, or there or everywhere dismays you?
Then hear John the Baptist speak directly to you: there is a way!
Prepare the way, clear and straight, for Jesus to enter your heart!
Building roads through mountains and swamps is rough, tedious work.
Bringing hope into our gloomy and frustrated hearts is right at hand.
Only a glance at Christ, a word to entrust yourself to him.
There will be many opportunities for confession the next two weeks,
here and in neighboring parishes. Watch the bulletin.
Keep going with the 33 days of consecration to Jesus through Mary.
She is a trustworthy help and guide.
Jesus wants to give you a little bit of the splendor of heaven,
in your heart. A hot shower feels wonderful;
but a clean conscience after a good confession –
leaving no fear or worry? Feels awesome!
Let Jesus make his way into your heart. Let him in!