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Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) Homily: Becoming not Achieving

Posted by frmac on December 2, 2008

Advent is about life’s journey. It celebrates new beginnings, God’s presence and faithfulness, and longed for hopes. Past, Present, and future inter-twine, and we are reminded that life is about becoming and not about achieving. Too often, we focus on our wants, likes, and needs, and miss the becoming. A person can achieve money, power, possessions, and all that is mortal, and not know or recognize themselves at the end of the journey.

Butterfly

The hard thing to come to understand in life is that it is the becoming that counts, not the achievements, not the roles in which we manage to mantle ourselves. But becoming is our most Byzantine task. Giving ourselves over to be sculpted can take a lifetime of shifts and gyrations, of aimless orbits and dizzying spins, of near despair and of dogged, intransigent, tenacious hope. “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall always behind you,” the native people of New Zealand say. When despair comes, in other words, in order to dispel it with hope, we have to make the effort.

Scarred By Struggle, Transformed By Hope

This Sunday we hear Peter ask us in the second reading: What sort of person ought you to be? And this, I believe, is the central question, not only of advent, but of life itself. Who am I, and what am I becoming?

I think we all know, as Christians, what we ought to be: kind, loving, merciful, people. A people conducting ourselves in holiness and devotion, and waiting in tenacious hope and confidence for  coming of the Lord. A people who believe in God, and trust in God’s promises, as Peter proclaims this Sunday in the second reading. (2Pt.3:8-14) We, Peter goes on to say, are a people who “await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, “Beloved,” he says, “since you await these things be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.”

As we journey through advent this year and prepare for Christmas, let us focus on our faith, our children and our loved ones, for they can help us answer the question: ‘Who am I, and what am I becoming?’

Advent is the time to hear once again the call and cry of John the Baptist in the wilderness:

John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins. (Mk 1:1-8)

Yes, Advent is a time to acknowledge wayward ways, and get back to becoming a better better person; a good Christian and follower of Christ. It is a time to learn from the past, but also a time to let go and move on. It is a time to live in the present, seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness, ever cognizant of God’s presence in our hearts. Advent is also a time to renew our efforts to become what God intends us to be.  And, It is a time to revitalize our faith in God’s love for us, eternal life, and the return of Christ in glory.

Note: I rarely present homilies as written. I provide them here in the hope that there might be a thought or idea that will inspire.

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