May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts.
Last summer was a summer of packing, finishing projects and goodbyes lots of goodbyes.
My nephew Matthew even flew in from Detroit to say good bye..
I’m not exactly sure where everyone thought I was going but that’s how the summer was and it was very touching.
Whenever Matt visits we like to hike and in the past he was surprised at how well I could walk up those hills.
With all of the goodbyes last summer I did didn’t get my hiking in as often as I was used to
When Matt visited lask summer he wanted to go hiking again.
I decided to hike up Talcott Mountain.
It’s a short pretty steep climb
Usually I can make up without any problem
But this time it was really hard and I even had to stop once on my way up.
When we got to the top Matt (ever the tactful one) looked back at me and said wow Uncle Rob what happened to you, you’re really sucking wind.
I was amazed at how much I have gotten out so shape in just a few weeks. My struggle up that hill was an eye opener.
In today’s gospel Jesus warns us about becoming drowsy, spiritually complacent or better yet, spiritually out of shape.
He reminds us that unless we are vigilant,
unless we concentrate on being good, holy, generous, people all the time, our spiritual lives will suffer.
Just like I learned that it doesn't take long time to get out of shape physically, it doesn't take long to fall out of shape spiritually either.
When we don’t make it a habit of giving God time it becomes harder and harder to give God time and to turn our lives around.
When we don't make it a habit of going to confession it becomes harder and harder to come back to the grace of the sacrament.
Some of you haven’t gone to confession in years and you know you should and many of you even want to go but the longer you are away the harder it is to get back.
When we regularly don’t place the needs of others, before our own it becomes easier and easier to become self absorbed and even narcissistic.
Many people have simply grown used to seeing other people in need or suffering and feel absolutely no urgency to do anything about it.
It is so easy for us to fool ourselves into thinking that we have lots of time to get our spiritual house in order or to get in shape spiritually
We reason, there's time for holiness, there’s time for God, it’s just not yet.
St. Augustine will always be remembered for his line…
Give me Chastity O Lord but not yet.
We say things to ourselves like
Lord help me be holy … just not yet.
The Gospel warns us that we know neither the day or the hour and that if we are not ready the day of the Lord’s coming will catch like a trap.
Remember getting in shape spiritually takes time like getting in shape physically. Only the practice of virtue over time will get us in shape spiritually.
If I want to make it to the top of Talcot Mountain without getting out of breath going up once won’t do it
Going up twice won’t do it.
I have to go up over and over and gradually I’ll get my stamina back and make it to the top without difficulty
It the same with getting in shape spiritually.
One effort, one moment of prayer, one rosary will not make a difference
Because our Church understands our human condition.
she gives us the season of Advent in the hope that even with all the confusion that the Christmas brings we will make an extra effort to enter deeply into the mystery of God’s love for us.
I don’t know about you but this is my 63th Advent.
Let’s say Advents 1-18 don’t count because I was still growing up.
That means I’ve had 45 advents to amend my life a
nd grow closer to God.
And all I can say is that I know I could have done better.
I know that there have been and still are periods of spiritual drowsiness or hyper busyness even in my life as a priest.
We all can do better and deep in our hearts we want to do better.
This year on this first Sunday of Advent
Let us commit ourselves to one concrete thing which will help us to be holier and more generous men and women.
See you at Mercy Monday