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November 29, 2020: Best Advent Ever

In the gospel Jesus says, “Watch.” That is, “Stay awake” or “Awaken” to who and what you are meant to be. How do we do that? Well let’s break that down.


The first component, is to admit what your body is, or is not, capable of doing or being. It’s like this wick [Show a wick]. It is what it is.   Your body is your gift from God. We all come with hindrances and limitations. For example, I will never be able to dunk a basketball. I can’t. I’m too short and I can’t jump that high.   Or . . . I can’t distinguish dark blue from purple. That’s why this vestment is great for me, because I’m told it contains both. But I can’t see the difference, I am color blind.   That’s just the way God made me.


Some of your bodies need some medication to jump start them or to correct a limitation. That’s just the way it is. Some of you have “let your bodies get out of shape.” That’s your decision, your choice. But ultimately who (and what) you are is a gift from God. I’ve never met a person who is completely satisfied with their bodies (e.g. wanting more of this or less of that) . . . but you are what you are.


Second piece is this [hold up a block of wax]. This is a block of wax. This can be molded and shaped. This surrounds the wick. The wax is your upbringing, your environment, your life situation.   This represents all the ways that you have been formed. Is it flawed? Of course. All of us can think of ways that we wanted our lives to turn out differently. All of us can curse the darkness and complain about this situation or that being unfair.


AND we can also accept our situation. We can learn to sympathize with that person in our lives who was not good to us. This especially applies to your parents, we can all find fault in something they did. But I believe that no parent ever woke up in the morning thinking, “How can I ruin my child’s life today?” No, your parents did the best they could with what they had.   Your job is to let go. But think of this . . . If you do not transform your pain, you will always transmit it!


You can’t change someone, only yourself. You don’t need to stay in destructive or abusive relationships. But there comes a point when each of us must surrender to what was. With the situation you have experienced, or are experiencing . . . remember that is just your life situation. Your life is bigger than that.


Finally we come to the light. [Flick on a lighter]. This third part is God. It is spirituality. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God, God still exists. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been praying or coming to Church . . . God’s presence is still real, and alive and glowing. And there is nothing that you can do earn more of God’s presence, and there is nothing you can do to diminish God’s presence. God always was, is and will be.   And God’s intention is to connect with you.

How? Well you put a wick (your being, your body, your gifts, your limits) together with the wax (your situation, your upbringing, your environment, your setting) and you get a candle. [Show a candle]


And God’s wants to spark something within you. [Light the candle.] As Jesus says, “Watch, awaken, be alert.”   That could mean many things for us . . . for example to love, to become more kind, to be generous. But here is the ONE challenge and message that I invite you to focus on during these weeks of Advent.   The one thing to be awakened in you . . . DON’T LIE.


It’s that simple. During these next 4 weeks . . . really concentrate on telling the truth. This is important for you families in our FIRE program, for you are going to focus on this topic tonight.


DON’T LIFE. That is . . .

Don’t lie. Don’t tell half-truths. E.g. where were you? I was at Joe’s. Yes, but also Sam’s and

            Bob’s. Don’t tell God only part of what you are feeling. Don’t give God only half your             truth. Give it all. God can handle it.

Don’t lie. Don’t hold back tears. There are many things to be sad about. That is the reality. Go

            ahead and express yourself. For example, if you are watching an emotional show, like

            IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE            and you feel tears coming on. Go for it.

Don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate. This is my problem. I always want to sound more important, or I

            want things to sound funnier than they were.


Don’t lie. Admit your habits or addiction. Everyone deserves someone who knows you

            completely. Go ahead and be honest. Alcoholism is really 10% about the chemical

            and 90% about dishonesty.

Don’t lie. Don’t depend on white lies. Of course you don’t have to be mean or cruel. There are

            plenty of ways of being honest and direct without deliberately hurting someone. If you

            don’t want to go somewhere, say so. If you don’t care for that particular food, admit.

            Stop being false.

Often we have to keep lying to cover up a previous lie. Stop it. Come clean. Admit your mistakes. Perhaps it’s time to set things straight. Next weekend before and after all the Masses, we will have Reconciliation with myself and Fr. Eb Schefers. If you can’t make it then, call me up and set up an appointment. This is your time.


Fr. Ron Rolheiser wrote, If we lie long enough, eventually light begins to look like darkness and darkness begins to look like light.


That’s especially true of the lie of a double life, when we are no longer honest with our loved ones.

If we do that long enough, eventually our betrayals begin to look like virtue,

our lies start looking like truth . . . and what our families, faith, and churches stand for, begins to look like falsehood, death, darkness.”


So come into the light. Be honest with who you are [hold up the candle]. God wants to fill you with light [flick on the lighter]. Make this Advent your best one ever.


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