Sunday, December 06, 2020

Three ways to 'Prepare the Way of the Lord' (Sunday homily)

This Sunday the key idea in the readings is:  

“Prepare the way.”

In the first reading, a voice cries out: “prepare the way of the LORD!”

 In the Gospel, we learn whose voice it is: John the Baptist’s.

How do we prepare the way?

Well, Saint Peter tells us in the second reading:

“the day of the Lord will come like a thief” – we cannot know when; 

so “be eager to be found… at peace” with Christ.

So let me suggest some concrete things you and I can do, starting now, 

to draw closer to Christ and prepare the way for him in your life.

The first thing I want to highlight 

is spending time in the Lord’s presence – visiting him here,

particularly when he is on the altar for adoration, 

as we do on Thursdays.

It’s like the difference between calling someone you love, 

versus going to see that person. 

Sometimes a phone call is all we can do, and that’s a lot; 

but it’s obviously not the same as visiting in person.

Making a habit of prayer, especially taking time 

to come and pray before the Blessed Sacrament, isn’t just going to happen.

It will happen only if you make a firm resolution and concrete plan.

We have exposition every Thursday, 

from the 8:15 Mass in the morning till Benediction 

at 8:30 in the evening. Come anytime you want, for as long as you want. 

And we also do this on First Friday, all night.

The second thing I want to emphasize is confession.

If praying before the Eucharist is “face time,”

Confession is “heart time.”

I’m obviously not married, 

but two things are true of every marriage.

First, that there are always hurts and times of distance.

Second, there is always a need 

for open-hearted confession and forgiveness.

It is true that forgiveness doesn’t always come easily 

in family situations. 

But the good news is, even if your husband or wife 

doesn’t forgive easily and generously, God does!

Between now and Christmas, there will be plenty of opportunities 

for you to receive this sacrament. 

And, in the days before Christmas, 

I’ll have extra times here at St. Remy. Watch the bulletin for these. 

The third thing suggestion I have is to reach out.

So we have “face time”: adoring Jesus in the Eucharist;

And “heart time”: confessing our sins in the sacrament of penance;

So this is “go time”: go make some a difference in someone’s life. 

A lot of people at this time of year are sad, 

especially if they lost someone they love and the memory is sharp. 

No better time to check in with friends and neighbors, 

especially if they live alone and maybe are getting a little older. 

Especially now, with so much isolation!

And if you are feeling sad, helping others is the best thing for it.

We have a St. Vincent de Paul Society that helps people in need. 

If you want to be involved, they would love to hear from you. 

And they can connect you to opportunities 

in Piqua, Sidney, Troy and Dayton. 

Right here in Russia we have Rustic Hope, 

helping women facing an unexpected pregnancy. 

Craig and Connie McEldowney would love your help.

So would the food pantry in Versailles. 

What I’m going to say might annoy someone, and I’m sorry:

But with the virus getting worse in many places,

maybe each of us can think about how to go the extra mile.

If you’re getting any kind of symptoms, please don’t wave it off,

And realize that some people 

have really good reason to be concerned.

Not only for their own health, 

but also for people they live with or care for.

It should be obvious that if you test positive, stay home please!

And we all know there is a lot of skepticism about wearing a mask,

and I know all the arguments, pro and con.

But think of it as a way to put people at ease.

And, if you think I’m talking about this too much, 

Let me say, there are a good number of folks 

who think I need to go really full-bore on this. 

There are strong feelings both ways,

And I’m trying to be a bridge, I’m trying to hold us together.

This virus will go away, not soon enough, but it will.

After this, let’s not have bitterness and anger linger.

Trying really hard to think about and appreciate other points of view 

is also a really good way to help others, and be more Christlike.

Jesus is coming: at the end of time; and he comes in this Mass. 

If you want to be prepared, fix your eyes on him. 

Open your heart to him. Give him your hands for his work.

1 comment:

rcg said...

Those are three very powerful and transformational habits to develop.