Third Sunday of Advent
Third Sunday of Advent Homily Transcript
>>Charlie arrives at work early one morning. Very, very tired. The boss says, “Charlie, you’re so incredibly tired. What happened?” Charlie says, “Oh, you’re not going to believe it. I have a brand new puppy dog. And during the night our new puppy dog swallowed all the Scrabble letters from our Scrabble game.
Had to take them to the vet, have his stomach pumped.” The boss says, “Well, Charlie, how’s your puppy dog doing?” And Charlie says. “No word yet.”
I really like that one. Jesus. The Word of God, knew who he was and what he was about, but not in the sense that his whole life planned out and went to the cross to fulfill a predetermined schedule. Rather, Jesus trusted his father. He trusted life. We are called to do the same.
Consider for a moment the particular awareness of John the Baptist. In prison, frustrated, somewhat disillusioned, losing hope. He sent a message through Jesus’ disciples to ask, “Are you the one who is to come? Or should we look for another?” We were never told because the question is asked. Not for John’s benefit, but for our benefit.
True story. When I was very young, four, five, six, seven, I was always getting in my mother’s way. She’d be doing the dishes and I would be by her feet very close to her. My mom would say, “Greg, you’re in my way. You’re in my way. I’m trying to prepare dinner, go outside and play.” So, one day I’m in the kitchen. Summertime. Whining, “Mom, there’s nothing to do. I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.” And my mother said to me, “Greg, quit getting in your own way.” I looked, What? I was always getting in your way.” But my mother said to me, “Greg, quit getting in your own way.” That always stayed with me my entire life.
As the older I got, I come to realize sometimes we get in our own way. Not in somebody else’s way, but in our own way. Are you the one who is to come? Or should we look for another? And sometimes we doubt. We struggle. We get in our own way. Like John the Baptist, we can sometimes say: I know what I wanted. I did not get what I expected. But I got what I wanted anyway. But just did not know it. Surrendering and letting go is enriching and fulfilling, not diminishing or stifling.
Advent is the season to let God into our lives. Not necessarily on my terms, but like Saint John, we are called to stretch. Our doubts will not ruin us. But indifference, apathy, anger, an unrepenting heart, unrealistic expectations and blindness, and sometimes getting in our own way will. For a big part of what we see in life depends upon what we are looking for.
Is 35:1-6a, 10
Mt 11:2-11 (7)
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