1st Sunday of Advent Year B

Is 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 / PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 /  1 Cor 1:3-9 / MK 13:33-37

     It’s that time of year again where we seem to be running from one place to the other, getting our Christmas shopping done, meeting with old friends and making new ones, and perhaps most stressful of all we find ourselves cleaning the house and preparing to have guests over. It is certainly understandable that we have many things going on over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas which demand our attention, but amidst all of the hustle and bustle, we hear our Lord warn us, in today’s gospel, to be watchful and prepare for His coming. Just think for a moment about all the preparations you are making for Christmas. What preparations are you making for the Lord, who promises to come again at the appropriate time? Amidst all of the holiday cheer we must find time to center our attention on the coming of Christ.

      Today, the first Sunday of Advent, is the beginning of a new liturgical year and a new year for our spiritual journey. Just as many of us make new years resolutions for the secular new year shouldn’t we also make new years resolutions for our spiritual lives? It is now, as we prepare for the coming of Christ during Advent, that is the perfect time to start anew and find some resolutions to help us grow in our relationship with God. The word advent literally translates to mean “coming toward.” This advent our Lord wants to come toward us, but as He comes toward us, we must make sure we are prepared to receive Him. Advent is a time for us to open our hearts to the grace of God, to allow ourselves to be the clay in the potter’s hands, to allow God to mold us into the best version of ourselves, the version of ourselves He created us to be.

     The events in Ferguson have shown me that all of us have room to grow closer to Christ, the Prince of Peace. Imagine what our community would look like if every person took just one step to deepen their relationship with the Lord this year. Certainly we can’t control what others will do, but we can control what we will do, so why not take advantage of this new spiritual year and make it a year of growth? Imagine what our already great parish would look like if all of us took just one small step in developing our relationship with the Lord this year, allowing Him to mold us into the best version of ourselves.

     The first step in surrendering ourselves over to the potter is to step back and make an honest assessment of our lives. I think if we make an honest assessment of our lives we will see that very few of us have drastic changes to make, but all of us need to make some small changes in our spiritual life. Whether you need to make drastic or small changes now is the time.

     All of us find ourselves in different places, but all of us find ourselves with room for improvement in our faith lives. Some of us struggle to pray throughout the week, why not make a resolution to spend 5 minutes in prayer every morning and again before you go to bed or perhaps begin the practice of saying the rosary two or three times a week, or even carve out 30 minutes once or twice a week to spend praying before Jesus in our Blessed Sacrament chapel. Others of us find ourselves lacking a knowledge of the Bible or the teachings of our faith, wouldn’t a great new years resolution be to set a plan to read the Bible in a year or find some other book about our faith to read, or maybe even join one of the Bible study programs at the parish. Some of you may feel disconnected from the parish community; why not find a parish organization to join this year? Perhaps we have not been to confession in a while; why not make a resolution to go to confession once a month? Could it be perhaps that some of us are struggling to go to Mass every Sunday? Why not make a resolution to go to Mass every Sunday? Wherever you find room for improvement in your spiritual life now is the time to work to improve it.

     Today, faced with the knowledge that our Lord will come again to bring to heaven those of us who have allowed the potter to make us the best version of ourselves, we have two options. We can either pretend we don’t have any room for growth and drift along in our spiritual lives on the way to destruction or we can ask God to mold us into the person He created us to be. The option is ours, will we be the hardened clay, that settled clay which needs no molding and which the potter cannot work with, or will we remain the moist clay, and allow the potter to continue to shape us? The clay that hardens, can only be broken into a thousand little pieces, but the moist clay can be reshaped even when things go wrong. Why not make one small resolution this advent to allow the Lord to continue to shape you.

     Let us not waste this opportunity to grow this Advent as we wait for the Lord to come into our hearts at Christmas and in Glory at the end of time. Now is the time to make one small step towards a deeper relationship with Him. Why not take some time this week to evaluate where you are in your life and then make a resolution to take one small step closer to the Lord and focus on fulfilling that resolution this Advent and into the New Year?

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