2013-12-01, 1st Advent A, The Santa Claus Song

Homily 12-01-13
1st Advent A
Is 2:1-5;  Ps 122:1-9; Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44

(Scriptures included after homily)

Are we ready, brothers and sisters?  You know, there was a song written in the 1930s’
that, I think, fits perfectly with today’s readings.  It goes something like this . . .

OH… You better watch out,
You better not cry,
santaYou better not pout,
I’m tellin’ you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you are sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake,
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake . . .

OH… you’d better watch out…

But, wait a minute, wait a minute Deacon Joe.  Something about that – is just not right.

That’s worldly stuff, not Church stuff.  We can’t talk about Santa Claus in Church.
Santa Claus belongs out there.  Here, we’re supposed to talk about Jesus!

But wait a minute, wait a minute, children.  Just who do we think Santa Claus is?

St NickWhy, the very word Santa means Saint.
And Saints belong here, right?

And Claus, well Claus is just the “nick-name” for Nicholas.

And Saint Nicholas was just like Jesus.
He gave away all of his wealth to take care of the poor.
Just as Jesus gave away his whole life to take care of us.

You see, this St. Nicholas was actually a real person who
lived in a little town called Myra, in the country, we today call Turkey, about 1600-years ago.

And Nicholas was loved so much, that the people where he lived made him a Bishop.  Then, over time, his name became a legend.  And today we still remember the generosity of St. Nicholas – as Santa Claus.

So you see, Santa Claus CAN be in Church too. 
Just as Jesus can be OUT there, in the world.

advent wreathToday is the first day of Advent.  And we might say that in today’s readings Jesus, St. Paul and the Prophet Isaiah are all singing the “Santa Claus Song” to us.

But it’s a Bigger, and a Brighter, and a more Hopeful song – than anything Santa Claus could ever do for us.

It’s a song of LIFE.

For you see, while St. Nick could soothe our ills for a little while, once a year, with
toys and goodies, Jesus could soothe our whole Lives, every day, now and forever,
with a Hopeful promise of Freedom.Christmas Jesus

Just imagine, Freedom from Pain and Bitterness,

     Freedom from Unfairness and Hatred,

          Freedom from Hunger and Greed,

               Freedom, even from Death.

These are the Gifts Jesus brings to us!

And just as Santa Claus warns the children to “Watch out and Be good” in the Song,
Jesus advises All of Us to ‘Watch’ and ‘Be Prepared,’ because the Reward for choosing Goodness – SO far outweighs the temporary illusions of evil, that when we Realize the Difference, we’ll never want to “Be Bad” again!!

noahThroughout the Gospels, Jesus gives us many lessons of both options, bad and good.  And we can personify those lessons to help bring them a little closer to home.

For example, there was Plinka, the daughter of Zee, who chose not to believe God and Noah about the flood.
Do you think Plinka has any descendents today?
Not a chance!

Then there were Harry and Chris. While Harry was out in the field plucking the wheat, he was cursing his job, cursing the hot sun, and cursing the bugs.  Yet Chris, who was doing the same job, was thanking God for work, so that he could feed his family.  Chris was thanking God for the wheat to feed his neighbors, and for the sunshine to help the crops grow.  In the end, do you think it was Harry or Chris who was left behind when that Promotion came?

And thehandmilln, grinding the wheat at the mill, there was Sue, who was also grinding her teeth with worry about breaking her precious fingernails, while her sister, Peggy, was Singing songs of Thanks – that she had working fingers – to help feed her children with the bread she made from that Mill.
In the end, do you think it was Peggy or Sue who was asked to Sing in God’s Heavenly Choir?

You see, dear friends, we’ve already received the most important part of God’s wonderful Christmas Gift.  Jesus has been given to us, to show us that we’ve been blessed with the awesome Gift of Choice.  We can choose to Live our lives in the darkness and fog of sleep, whining about our sorrows and drowning in our selfishness.  Or we can choose to Live in the Light of Jesus, with every moment immersed in Thanksgiving.  Giving thanks for what we have, and Thanking God for what we can Give to others.

What better reason could there be to Rejoice!

For, you see, our Christmas Gift is Jesus Himself !

This Advent, Pope Francis reminds us, in a brand new Papal Letter, called an Encyclical, that was published just last Tuesday, (Evangelii Gaudium – Link) . . .

. . . that we Catholics are truly a people of Joy
when we come to know Jesus in the Gospel.

We are a people of Joy
when we personally receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament:
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

And we are a people of Joy and Hope
when we choose, every day,
to be prepared
for Eternal Life with God,
by sharing Jesus with others,
just as the Song reminds us . . .

The-Star-Of-Bethlehem

You better watch out,
Better open your eye.

There’s reason to shout,
I’m tellin’ you why.

Jesus Christ is coming to town!!!

jmp 12-01-13
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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 12-01-13
First Sunday of Advent, A

First Reading:  Is 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.”

For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.  O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.

R.
Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD.

R.
According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.

R.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings.

R.
Because of my brothers and friends I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God, I will pray for your good.

R.

Second Reading: Rom 13:11-14

Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.  Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Gospel: Mt 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.  They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.  So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.

Therefore, stay awake!  For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.  Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.  So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

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