Sunday, December 3, 2017

STAYING AWAKE! A homily for the First Sunday of Advent, Year B, (Mark 13:33–37)

As usual you can hear the audio here.
            Three times our Lord says to us WATCH!  We are to open our spiritual eyes and see!  we are to stay awake like security guards at night or soldiers on watch.  He will return and it will be sudden and without warning.  Will we be awake and ready?  How does one stay spiritually awake and alert?  He will return.  How are we to prepare for this?  How are we to stay awake in our faith?
            We can, indeed, we must pray.  The Church defines prayer as lifting up the heart and mind to God.  For years I thought that mean and pathetic.  Now I see that the Church is saying that prayer is a broad and profound experience.  Whatever enables us to lift up our heart and mind to God is prayer.  No two people pray the same but everyone should pray.  Without prayer we fall asleep spiritually.  We also need to listen though, to listen to God's word in the scriptures, the Bible.  The Bible contains His message for us, His mind that we are to put on and if we are not giving attention to His word then we are not listening and our soul starves.  We need to put that word found in scripture into practice in our lives by how we treat others and how we care for those in need.  We need to live the life of the Church not just by attending Mass on Sunday but by examining our conscience everyday and going to Confession regularly. 
            While our Lady is not a tourist visiting visionaries on demand she is a mother and she cares for her children whom she has received from her Son on the Cross.  In 1879 she came to us here in Ireland.  She did not say a word but the whole vision at Knock pointed us to the centrality of the Sacrifice of the Mass and our duty of prayer, worship and belief in the teaching of Christ and His Church.  It is that Faith that we received from St Patrick that has made Ireland the relatively civilized place it still is.  It has been a gift to us from God.
            In 1917 our Lady came to us at Fatima.  This time she did speak.  She called for conversion and amendment of life, that we take the Gospel and the teaching of her Son seriously and put it into practice.  She called for a life of penance and reparation, that is, making acts of faith and love to show our sorrow at our own sins and those of others, sins against God, against her, and against one another.  She called for prayer and devotion to her Son and to herself.
            In calling for penance and reparation she asked that we offer up everything in our life and every sacrifice, every suffering however small, to be offered to God in a spirit of submission to His will.  To do this we consciously unite our sufferings and sacrifices with our Lord's Sacrifice on Calvary.  On their own our sacrifices and sufferings are of no value but united to His they take on the infinite value of His Sacrifice.  We can do this by His power made available to us in baptism fro in baptism we were immersed into Christ and became one flesh, one Spirit with Him.  In His mercy and love God the Father accepts these sacrifices united to His Son's in reparation for all the sins of the world and above all those against His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament and those against His Son's Most Pure Mother, for to fail to honour the Mother is to fail to honour the Son.
            Our Lady also asked that we pray especially that we pray the Rosary.  She did not mean that we rattle through it as quickly as possible.  She clearly asked that we spend time with her in the rosary while meditating on the Mysteries and that we do this daily in a spirit of reparation to her and her Son.  When we pray the rosary properly we left our Lady take us by the hand and walk us through the mysteries of her Son's life. 
            She also asked that we give five first Saturdays, that means the first Saturday of five consecutive months in reparation to her and her Son.  We do this by going to confession and confessing all our sins, in number and kind, with sincere purpose of amendment, and then going to Holy Communion, again, with the intention of making reparation to her.  She also asked that we wear the blessed Brown Scapular as a sign of our consecration to her and that we live that consecration to the best of our ability.  Finally she asked that we spread the word.  We are to tell others about her requests and encourage them to respond to the Mother of God.

            None of this is difficult.  None of it is too time consuming.  It may mean we have less time for other things but when you stand before the Lord He will not ask you the sports results or what was on the telly!  He will ask you about whether and how you listened to Him and to His Mother.  If we have listened and obeyed we will have nothing to fear and nothing to lose.  If we have not we will only have ourselves to blame.  While we are then let us stay awake in the spirit.   Let us live our lives as faithful Catholics and stand ready for His return.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails