homily – December 3

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Today we begin a new liturgical year. When you stop to think about it our church life is out of sync with our home and work life. Living our home and work life we are just getting ready for the final blast of Christmas and all the shopping and chaos that entails. Then we start all over again with New Year’s Day.

But in our church life we start all over this Sunday -this is new year’s day in our life within the church.

One of the features of New Year’s Day is the sense we have that our new year will be different from the old, will be better than the old. We all live with the human struggle described so truthfully by St. Paul, “the good that I would, that I do not and the evil that I would not do, that I do.” So we get into making resolutions – more exercise, better diet, more time with the family, better work habits, better control of my temper. In other words, ‘I’m going to give it another try.’ And that’s what St. Paul is writing about in his letter to the Thessalonians – give it another try. So often our home and work lives and our church lives slip into ruts and rotes – there can be a slovenly sameness to our lives. Same old, same old.

Paul brought these good people to the faith -but he wanted more of them – he wanted them to increase and abound in love for one another – he wanted there hearts to be strengthened in holiness and to live as to please God – as they were doing – but Paul wants them to do these things more and more. He must have sensed they were slipping into to ruts and routines in living their faith – they’d lost the excitement and enthusiasm of their first faith. Paul encouraged them to increase and abound in love – he wanted their hearts to be strengthened in love – basically Paul wanted them to move on. Paul was never one for stagnation – for the status quo.

Five weeks from now we’ll probably all be making New Year’s resolutions – we do it every year. Maybe today – our church life’s New Year’s Day we can make resolutions as well. We can resolve to try – to try – to increase in love for one another – this may mean we try to right past wrongs, heal old hurts, it may mean we try to forgive as we’ve been forgiven, it may mean we try to be more accepting of people who think and live differently than ourselves.

On this our New Year’s Day we can resolve to try – to try – to strengthen our hearts in holiness. This may mean that we listen more attentively to God’s word as we listen to the scripture or when spend some time in peace and quiet. It may mean we try – try – to grow to that full maturity in Christ, a maturity to which we are all called – It may mean we try – try – to be more Christ like in the way we relate to members of our families, people with whom we work, people who come into our lives in the course of a day.

On this our New Year’s Day – looking at the four weeks that are to come – weeks of the usual frenzy of Christmas preparation and celebration – weeks that can distract us from the truth that Jesus is the reason for this season – weeks of frayed nerves and busy schedules – we can continue to celebrate this Mass praying for ourselves and for each other that each of us resolve to try to live each day of our lives so as to please God – as in fact we are trying to do.