The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homily: December 18

Readings: Jer 23:5-7; Psalm 72; Mt 1:18-25

St. Joseph's Dream
As we move toward the end of our Advent journey, today’s readings give us a glimpse into what this season is all about. Pausing to get closer to Jesus, we ask for the grace to let Him into our hearts.

In doing so we join with St. Joseph, the righteous man who always seeks God’s will. He was a man who trusted, one who remained continually dependent on God’s next word. For Joseph, the just man, must learn to grow in God’s love and grace. He must experience, as we all must, the trial of faithfulness, the trial of perseverance in seeking out the will of God in his life.

Yes, Joseph waits patiently for God to speak, just as God waits patiently for Joseph to grow in fidelity to His will. And God makes a promise to Joseph, the promise of Emmanuel: God With Us. What a promise it is, what a revelation. And like Joseph we often can’t imagine what that promise means for us...because this promise is given to all of us, brothers and sisters, God is with us.

It's a promise God has made to His people from the beginning. We hear it in our first reading from Jeremiah: “…the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David” And despite all the darkness all the uncertainty he faced, Jeremiah trusted in God’s promise.

It’s right that Joseph and Jeremiah should trust because this promise is at the core of the Good News which is meant for all generations. When we see the world shrouded in so much darkness, we can trust completely in the light of Christ to guide us. When we experience deep discouragement in our lives, when we’re overcome by fears or worries, when the challenges seem too great to face, we need to recall God’s words to Joseph: God is with us.

We are not alone. Like Joseph, we need only accept God’s presence. Turn to Jesus today and let Him enter your heart. Push aside the obstacles that you and world place in His path. 

Pope Francis recently wrote that many today act as if God doesn’t exist. 

A “practical relativism”, he called it, “a lifestyle which leads to an attachment to financial security, or to a desire for power or human glory at all cost.”  Say no to selfishness. Avoid the pragmatism that transforms us into “mummies” – lifeless beings who deny the reality and the hope of Jesus Christ.

In the pope’s words: “Our faith is challenged to discern how wine can come from water and how wheat can grow in the midst of weeds…Say yes to a new relationship with Jesus.”

This is our Advent call: to open our hearts to Jesus’ coming today, in the midst of our darkness, often a very personal darkness.

If I let him love me, forgive me, tell me I’m not alone, then I can face any challenge with hope, even when our union with Jesus leads us to the Cross, we are with him on the path to eternal life.

“Come, Lord Jesus,” into our hearts today.

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