Homily – December 1, 2019

I Sunday of Advent
Year A
1 December 2019

Does anybody watch the Netflix series The Crown? It’s a show about the British Royal Family. In a recent episode – don’t worry if you’re watching I won’t ruin it – there is a marvelous exchange between Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, and his mother, Princess Alice. She asks him: “how is your faith?” … “Dormant”, he answers … her reply here is stunning, she says: “That’s not good, let this be a mothers gift to her child … find yourself faith, it helps, no, not just helps … its everything.”

“A mother’s gift to her child” – faith. Is this not the exact same gift that our Blessed Mother gives to us … faith. She, by giving birth to Jesus gives us the gift of faith – Faith in a God who shows us the meaning of divine love by walking among us, by becoming man, by entering our world … she gives us that.

The warning that is issued by Jesus in the Gospel recalls the time of Noah, the people had no regard for God, they lost faith and as such did not see the flood coming. Noah and his family, on the other hand, were prepared and made diligent preparations in obedience to God. In a few words, Jesus highlights a carelessness towards the things of God. Even when He was born, very few were actually expecting Him – and noticed. His point is that we tend to get caught up in so many other things that we deem to be more important… eating, drinking, finding the right spouse, work, school, sports … In all of that we can lose sight of God in the midst of ordinary life… faith in Him can become dormant… How do we get it back? How do we keep it?

The term ‘advent’ comes from the Latin verb ‘advenio’ which means ‘to come’, or ‘arrival’ but it can also mean ‘to develop’ – which implies growth, progress, maturity. In the prayer before the consecration, we are encouraged to ‘watch’ and ‘hope’ – these are all proactive terms. They imply that we have to do something, that we have a responsibility … if faith is dormant, what are we doing to bring it back? How do we prepare ourselves – make provision – to have a mature faith? In terms of everyday life we prepare for lots of things … In this time of year we will prepare for Christmas by decorating the house, putting up lights, cooking, baking … we will wrap presents and give gifts to make others feel loved…we will make all sorts of provisions to prepare well for Christmas at least in a secular sense … But a mother’s gift is the gift of faith…

The point here is not to be taken by surprise, to prepare well … to have a certain regard for God even in the midst of ordinary daily life… and in the context of all that is ordinary, God calls us, He manifests Himself to us, He reminds us of our purpose … and asks us only to be faithful … so that we will know – in heart and mind – that we are loved … loved by God. But if we do not seek Him, if we do not pay attention to Him – we will miss it … we will miss the ways in which He shows us His love. Mass, confession, spiritual reading, daily prayer … these are proactive ways to aid us in developing, growing, progressing, maturing in faith – preparing for the coming of God once again who desires to be a part of us, a part of our ordinary, regular lives … Consider this – God entered the ordinary life of a Jewish woman and it changed her forever … she gives us the same opportunity of faith, belief … a mother’s gift to her children … Will we, by being proactive this Advent season, allow faith to grow, develop, mature … to not let the commercialism of Christmas distract us from allowing the love of Jesus Christ to penetrate our hearts … and possibly change our lives forever … because faith is everything.

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