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Homily for 1st Sunday of Advent, Year B 2023 - Deacon Jim Curtain

At the risk of getting too personal, I’ll let you in on the fact that my age is getting closer to 70 than 60. Some of you may be similar. And yet in my mind I often think that I’m around 25 years old. Some of you may also share a similar delusion.  Of course, when I try now to do something physically that I could do when I was 25 my body reminds me of the truth.

Mentally and spiritually there can be a problem too. You see, when you’re 25 it’s easy to think you’ve got plenty of time. One can have great plans for self-improvement, for spiritual growth, for strengthening loving relationships, for working with those in need - great plans for the future when I’ll have time for all this, because I don’t have time now.

Guess what, whether at 25 or at 67, we are called on to make time. As our Lord says in the gospel, we don’t know when the master of the house will come, we don’t know when we’ll be summoned to make an account of our lives, what we’ve done and what we’ve failed to do. When the master does come, whatever our age, we don’t want him to find us asleep.

Advent gives us a chance to start the process! We don’t know when the Master of the house will come- but we do know it will be Christmas in 22 days. In his homily last week Fr Jerome suggested that between then and Christmas, we ask ourselves what is the one task we need to at least start, or relationship we need to begin or work on.

This is a really good spiritual exercise for us leading up to Christmas. In Australia December is often the end of a work year, school year, and often leads up to summer holidays. We can be so busy finishing off urgent tasks and going to various celebrations that we can forget what’s important, and just deal with the urgent and the superficial. Let’s challenge ourselves, think about an important task or relationship, and make that a priority.

This may be a bit difficult , but don’t forget that, as Paul reminds us in today’s reading, we are not without the gifts of the Spirit. We can pray for them, and with peace, patience and self control we can work out what is truly important, truly needed, and work on the one task, or the one relationship that is truly important.

The prophet Isaiah tells us that wonderful truth that we are the work of God, called to act with integrity.  Let’s pray that we are the work of God’s hands, we can be God’s hands in our families, our workplaces, our communities and that over the next weeks we can truly prepare ourselves for the joy and wonder of Christmas.


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