Bottom line: Today we have the opportunity to exercise the virtue of generosity, by praying for and giving to Catholic Community Services.
For Advent homilies I am using St.Paul's prayer, asking God to "strengthen your hearts". Strength as we saw last week is another word for virtue. On each Sunday of Advent we ask for a specific virtue.
Last Sunday we asked for the virtue of patience. We heard Jesus speak about vigilance - patient waiting. Patience is essential for our relationship with God and each other. One of the greatest things we can learn is delayed gratification - patience.
Patience, we saw, is like a muscle. It becomes stronger by exercise. Each day God sends tests to exercise patience. In the Bible God often tells us to fast, for example, to abstain from some savory food for a day. The penitential practice of fasting trains a person in delayed gratification.
I now move to another penitential practice which in fact is our second Advent virtue. Along with fasting comes almsgiving - also know as generosity. To most people generosity comes easier than fasting or patience. For sure children have to learn to share, that is, to learn generosity. And I've known guys who when the restaurant bill comes, they can outfumble anyone. Most people, though, are eager to be generous. In comparison with patience, generosity comes easy.
There is a hitch, however. For generosity to be a true virtue, it has to be done thoughtfully and consistently. Jesus speaks about Stewardship - wisely administering God's gifts. It's one thing to see an unfortunate person and give him a five dollars. It's something else to support an organization like St. Vincent de Paul or Catholic Community Services (CCS). We'll hear a testimony about CCS at the end of the homily. Archbishop Sartain places great importance on CCS. As Vicar for Catholic Charities (which oversees CCS) the archbishop appointed one of our finest young priests - Fr. Brad Hagelin.
By supporting Catholic Community Services we practice generosity. John the Baptist shows how to do it. He fulfills Isaiah's prophecy about making rough ways smooth. And how do we fill those potholes so the rough road becomes a highway? Well, John says, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." That's generosity - our second Advent virtue. Next week we'll see the third Advent virtue. Hint: It's the virtue parents most want for their children. That's for next Sunday.
Today we have the opportunity to exercise generosity, by supporting Catholic Community Services. With that in mind I ask you to give your full attention to CCS representative ____________________.
From Archives (Second Sunday of Advent - Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Summer - Kings and Prophets*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru