Monday, November 30, 2009

1st Sunday of Advent - homily

This is a true story: I was driving up to my first day of college with my Mom and older sister. On our way up to Loyola in Baltimore, my Mom was asking me questions about it. One of the questions she asked was, ‘what is the ratio of girls to guys?’ I was ready for this question. I said, ‘Mom, there are 50% girls, 49% guys, and one man!’ My sister rolled her eyes, and my Mom replied, “Let me guess…you’re the one man!” I said, “you go that right!” So, I took this joke to Loyola and told my friends and classmates. I became known as “the one man”. By sophomore year, it was condensed to “The Man”. I would walk into parties and people would say, “hey, it’s The Man!” Toward the end of sophomore year, friends of mine dared me to shave THE MAN into the back of my head. I said, “OK”. So, for three weeks, I walked around campus with THE MAN shaved into the back of my head! One time, I was walking to class and the guy behind me said, “I’m walking behind The Man!” The best part was probably when my Mom visited about a month after I got the cut. My hair had grown back in but still looked bad in the back. She commented, “What happened to your hair? Did you get a bad haircut or something?” I said, “yeah, I’ll never go back to that barber!”

So, yeah, The Man! (Now, I don’t want to see any of you guys with THE MAN shaved into the back of your heads…or girls!). Some of you are thinking to yourselves, ‘it’s more like The Jerk’. I agree. I will take it one step further and say that I was in the category that our Lord warns against tonight. My heart was “drowsy from carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of daily life”. If my time had come in the first part of college, I would have been in trouble. I’ve often thought that if I had died in college – and there was at least one night where I could have died from partying – I probably would have gone to Hell. My heart was in things other than Christ. It had become drowsy with the things of this world – things of the flesh.

If you’re wondering what this means exactly – to have hearts that are drowsy from carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of daily life – I ask you to think back to Thanksgiving night. After we eat all that food at dinner and dessert, we sit down on the couch and are pretty lethargic. We are bloated, can’t move, are tired, and have no energy. This is like the heart that is drowsy from carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of daily life. This is what my heart was like in the first part of college. My heart was tired, maybe even asleep, for Christ and the things of God.
Jesus doesn’t want a tired heart…He wants a tireless heart; He wants a vigilant heart. He doesn’t want a lukewarm heart; He wants a heart that is on fire. He says elsewhere in the Gospel that when He returns, He wants to see burning hearts….hearts that hearts that are on fire for Him and for the Gospel. He wants us to be on fire for being Catholic! If our hearts are on fire for Christ and the Church, then we will be vigilant.

If we are vigilant during Advent, then we will pray every day. Not just rote prayers or grace before meals, but really pray to the Lord from our hearts. We will make chapel visits a part of our Advent, especially on Wednesdays during Adoration.

If we are vigilant during Advent, then we will serve our neighbor. We will get involved in serving others, either at Martha’s table or caroling at St. Mary’s Court or signing up for Alternative Spring Break.

If we are vigilant during Advent, then we will invite others to Mass. A heart that is on fire for Christ will bring others to Him.

If we are vigilant during Advent, then we will go to Confession at least once before Christmas.

Finally, each one of us wants to have a good Advent. Each of us wants to be vigilant in these and other ways. Jesus says to “pray for the strength” to be vigilant…to have a good Advent. The best time for us to pray for the strength to do this is during Holy Communion. The Eucharist contains incredible strength for us. The Grace of the Eucharist is what changed my life…it’s what changed my heart. It woke up my heart. It has helped me to be on fire…to be vigilant. During Communion tonight, pray that the Lord gives you strength to be vigilant this Advent. Pray that He helps you to be strong amid pressure from your friends and peers. Pray that He helps you to be on fire for Him, the Gospel, and the Church. Pray that He helps you to be a faithful follower of His now and for the rest of your life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Need any of us worry about pride being mentioned in confession? That's quite a story! You weren't by chance an acting or theater major were you?!