Bottom line: In a world and Church full of stress, we need to hear Jesus: "Stand erect, raise you heads, your redemption is at hand." God will fulfill his promise.
In today's first reading, the Lord says, "I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah." Jesus comes as the fulfillment of God's promise: Yes, he tells us, cosmic and global disasters will occur - and they will frighten many. Nonetheless, says Jesus, "stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand." God will fulfill his promise.
We need that reassurance today. Many worry about what is happening in our world. Are we like renters who thoughtlessly trash a home, making it unlivable for other? Less and less people see themselves as stewards; more and more seem grasp whatever they can. And even though totalitarian regimes have receded in recent decades, new threats have taken their place. Here at home, we see our own society unravelling at an alarming rate. In our Church many feel stress because their children have abandoned the faith - at least any apparent practice of the faith.
With such stress in our world, society and Church, we need to hear Jesus: "Stand erect, raise you heads, your redemption is at hand." God will fulfill his promise.
This Sunday I would like to present an encouraging reason for hope. God has inspired some people not just to complain about the state of things, but to do something about it. In this case, to use the same media of communication to reach those who have fallen from the faith.
In Lent of 2010 we will use local television networks to air commercials inviting Catholics to "Come Home."* At the end of this homily I will present one of the commercials. They showed them on television in the diocese of Phoenix and got an overwhelming response. It seems that many people, especially young people, simply need to hear a positive, upbeat invitation.
We of course have to ready to receive them. Our parish staff has taken some training and I will be communicating to you ways that we can be a more welcoming community. I ask you now to give your full attention to this commercial. I think you will agree that the message gives a good reason to lift up our heads and stand erect. God will fulfill the promise he made to us.
(After watching the commercial, we will profess our faith and then at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful, I will bless the Advent Wreath - another powerful symbol that, yes, God will fullfill the promise.)
*The commercial will be shown in Western Washington during Lent 2010 and nation-wide during Advent 2010. To preview the commercials, please go to: http://www.catholicscomehome.org/
General Intercessions for First Sunday of Advent, Cycle C (from Priests for Life)
From Archives (Homily for First Sunday of Advent, Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Message to Parishioners ("At our Finance Council meeting this week, we noted a disturbing trend in Stewardship Pledges here at St. Mary’s.")
St. Mary of the Valley Album
Pictures from Peru
(Aaron Howard with girls at Puno orphanage, Daughters of Charity in background)
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Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
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