December 2, 2018 - Homily05/20/2019
We all know the “good news, bad news” routine. The good news is that after taking your car to the garage you find out it only has one small problem. The bad news is that they’ll have to keep it for a week, tear the whole engine apart and charge you hundreds of dollars to fix it. The good news is that your granddaughter is getting married. The bad news is that her fiancé is on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. The good news is that the Oakland Raiders already have more wins this season than all of last year. The bad news is they only won three games last year. The good news and the bad news.
The Church pulls the old “good news, bad news” routine around this time every year. The good news is that the end of time will be a time of redemption. The bad news is that it will also be a time of great turmoil and judgment. But if we follow Christ faithfully and stand strong with heads held high through the times of turmoil, we will stand with him at the end of time in victory.
The end of time. In our fast paced world, in which we can’t even wait 2 seconds behind someone at a green light without honking our horn and shouting at them, how can we possibly grasp the idea of the “end of time?” It all seems so beyond us, so far away, almost like a dream. It would be easy to dismiss Jesus’ warnings in today’s gospel and fall back asleep in the more immediate comforts and anxieties of daily life. “The end is coming? That’s nice, Jesus. Thanks for the tip. Now if you’ll excuse me the game comes on at four, and then I have to do the dishes. Maybe I’ll think about the end of the world tomorrow.”
Luckily for all of us sleepy-heads, the Church gives us an annual wake up call to remedy this in the season of Advent. Advent breaks into our routine every year at this time and reminds us of exactly where we stand in the history of salvation. As a season of joy, Advent prepares us to celebrate the first coming of Christ as a helpless child 2000 years ago, the beginning of our salvation. As a season of hope, Advent prepares us to celebrate the second coming of Christ as our victorious Lord at a time no one knows, the fulfillment of our redemption. And so we begin every liturgical year, remembering that we live in between these two saving events, in the joy and hope of the end time.
The end time, OUR time, is a time of redemption. That is good news that brings us comfort. But it is also a time of trial. While the difficulties and troubles we face may seem insignificant compared to the troubles of so many others in the world today, for us, as we go through them, they become something more. They carry the weight of eternity. The choices we make during those struggles can affect our lives and the lives of those around us forever. This Advent, stand tall, raise your heads, pray for the strength to stay awake and pass through the tribulations of the coming year, and know that as we stand faithfully with the son of man now through whatever assaults may come we will stand with him in victory forever.
Fr. Marc Stockton