Homily – December 2, 2018

Annie Dillard the author of the book ‘Silent Spring’ tells this story on herself. She had been watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon and was fascinated by the process until she grew impatient with how long it was taking and, to speed things up Annie took a candle and heated the cocoon, albeit very gently. The experiment worked, but it was a mistake in the long run. The butterfly emerged more quickly; however, because adding heat to the cocoon violated something within the natural process, the butterfly was born with wings too weak to fly. Haste and prematurity had stunted and deformed a natural process. Annie learned that some things can’t be rushed.

That’s a hard truth to understand in our age of instantcy. We want jobs or assignment done yesterday. We think that waiting, delaying, postponing means doing nothing. How many times in the next weeks will we hear, ‘I can’t wait for Christmas?’ Truth is you have to, unless you have your private celebration ‘right here, right now and ruin your Christmas. Annie made the mistake of being impatient; she tried to hurry the natural process of the butterfly’s struggle to be free of its cocoon and ruined the butterfly’s future.

These next weeks of December we’ll be reminded time and again that there are only so many days left for shopping. These next weeks of Advent remind us this is the time to prepare the way of the Lord coming into our lives with his grace and love and healing. This can’t be rushed. Advent is a season of patience and fortitude. Are we strong enough to resist our need for ‘right now’?

Perhaps this Advent we all need to rediscover and try to live a bit more consciously the real purpose of this liturgical season as a time of longing, hoping, waiting, preparing and praying for God’s grace to free us of any cocoon that restricts our living in the grace and love of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In one way of another we are all in our personal cocoon, a cocoon that restricts our growth in maturity and in God’s grace. But we have to remember that we are all mistake making beings and that God isn’t finished with us yet.

We are all in one cocoon or another struggling to be better than we are, struggling to grow in our love for God and one another. Maybe we struggle to break out of our cocoon of impatience with our own faults and limitations or the cocoon of our impatience with the faults and limitations of our spouse or children, or those with whom we work. Maybe we need God’s grace to break out of our cocoon of our inability to be faithful to Mass or find a time of quiet before God. We all need God’s grace to break out of our cocoon of our fixation with shopping for more and more for the things we need less and less. We need God’s grace to break out of the cocoon that keeps us from seeing not only the goodness in ourselves but

the goodness of every person who comes into our lives. We need God’s grace and strength to break out of our cocoon to addictions for food or drink or drugs or any other addiction that holds us captive. Do we need God’s grace to break out of a cocoon of indifference, a lack of interest in the hungry and the homeless in Toronto?

During this holy season of waiting we pray for ourselves and for each other for the grace and patience we all need to be freed, by God’s help from any and all cocoons that hinder us from being the person God calls us to be.