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First Sunday in Advent

As I prepared this homily for today, I realized that I hardly ever preach on the last things. And yet, Advent, which we begin today, is about getting ready for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour. In other words, the story that we tell every year about a baby born in a manger; who is God among us; who teaches us a new way and then is killed and returns from death; who goes to be with God; who starts the Church . . . this story has an end. So, these four weeks of Advent the scriptures are all about getting ready for the story to end. Today, I want to talk about the connection between the end of the world, and the end of each of us.

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LISTEN TO THE FULL SERMON / IN ENGLISH AND ITALIAN

As I prepared this homily for today, I realized that I hardly ever preach on the last things. And yet, Advent, which we begin today, is about getting ready for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour. In other words, the story that we tell every year about a baby born in a manger; who is God among us; who teaches us a new way and then is killed and returns from death; who goes to be with God; who starts the Church . . . this story has an end.

So, these four weeks of Advent the scriptures are all about getting ready for the story to end. Today, I want to talk about the connection between the end of the world, and the end of each of us.

I think that each one of us knows that my story -- our story -- all had a beginning. We were born; we don’t know why; we don’t know how we got the brothers and sisters that we have or why we were born in a particular place and time. But that’s where our story began.

We do know where Jesus’s story began and when. We are also know why it was God’s plan to become one of us. This is the meaning of the words in the Creed, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. The good news is that not only Jesus was conceived as part of God’s plan, but so were you and I.

And Jesus had a work to do among us that only he could do…to rescue us from death and from the destruction that doing what we know is evil brings to us. In his Resurrection, the same spirit that created him with Mary, recreated him in the tomb.

As his dead body was transformed, the whole creation began to be transformed. A new creation in which evil and death are no more. A world in which we all know where we come from and who we are. Because our story will have no end, but we are not there yet.

The process that began hidden in Mary’s womb and that was born again in the tomb has worked slowly. It began in those secret places, but it is getting more and more obvious, more and more urgent. So, “Get ready,” Jesus says. Ordinary life from before is going to be absolutely different. And that transformation is like giving birth; it is hard.

During Advent, we celebrate Mary’s pregnancy. But it is as if the whole creation is pregnant with a new creation. This is what you and I are a part of. Through our baptism, we became pregnant – so to speak – with the new creation we are to be. And God’s work will come to an end. Our new birth will be complete . . .

AUDIO OF THE FULL SERMON


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