Fr. Bob’s Homilies

The Word Inspires

Second Sunday of Advent – Homily (C)

Posted by frmac on December 5, 2009

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians this weekend we hear powerful words of hope and encouragement: Brothers and Sisters, I thank my God every time I remember you…,because of your sharing in the Gospel from the first day until now…. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more…, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.

Many, I fear today, will think these words pure unadulterated and unrealistic idealism. “Open your eyes, there is no such thing as real righteousness,” they say. “People are too self-centred and greedy. If you live and share the gospel by living by the Jesus message, the needy, the lazy, the selfish, and the merciless will walk over you.” “Be realistic,” they will say, “and look after yourself in the here and the now, because if you don’t, no one else will.”

Sometimes, I am tempted to think these nay Sayers right. Greed and selfishness are as alive and well today, as they were in the time of Jesus. Many aren’t interested in hearing about sacrifice, forgiving one’s neighbor, sharing with the poor and looking out for them. Many, it seems are just interested in looking after themselves, their families, and getting ahead. Preach the “prosperity gospel,” some advise, if you want your church full, and your collection baskets overflowing. And, there is some strong truth to this, if one investigates the growth and wealth of certain churches and denominations.  If you don’t believe me, just Google the words ‘prosperity gospel’. In mid-November the National Post had this is to say about this form of Christianity: 

When Christianity is used to push materialism above all else, that is when the religious teachings become corrupted….
“The [real] warning of the early Church to the rich was not to get possessed by their possessions,” (a professor Finn said from St. John’s University, a Catholic University  in Minnesota)

“And if they can’t give their possession away that’s proof that they are possessed by their possession. They’re not the master of their wealth, they are its servant.” (National post link for full story)

Pete Seeger the legendary folk singer penned these words decades ago for the song: This Land was made for You and Me:

“In the squares of the city, under shadow of the steeple,
        at the relief office, I saw my people.
        As they stood there hungry, I stood there whistling,
        this land was made for you and me.
  A great high wall there tried to stop me.
        A great big sign there said private property,
        but on the other side it didn’t say nothing.
        That side was made for you and me.”

On May 5th of this year (2009) he celebrated his 90th birthday along with 18,000 people at Madison Square Gardens. Against all odds he never gave up singing for justice at home and abroad – and for this he suffered dearly for over two decades – blacklisted and banned across the U.S. In 2004, speaking to a reporter on Why to Have Hope, he quoted Jesus’ parable of the seeds: The reporter asks, “For some one who isn’t so hopeful trying to find that way (the way of hope) what would you say?” He replies: Realize that little things lead to bigger things….There is this wonderful parable in the New Testament. The sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall on the pathway and get stomped on – they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seed fall on fallow ground and they grow and multiply a thousand fold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done will bring results years later”.”

I Think that as we journey through this second week of Advent it is important to remind ourselves that we are a people of Hope. And if we are to retain this hopeful stance it is important that we cherish this little parable about the the sower and the seeds, for it is this little story that helps us all recognize the goodness of others in the good little things that they do. it also motivates us to remain hopeful and to plant small, wonderful, good little seeds in the fallow soil along the path of our own lives. It is also this little parable that reminds us to repent for missed opportunities, and selfish deeds. Let our prayer be this week be the hopeful prophecy of Isaiah, and command of John The Baptist: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.

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