Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 12-3-20

Homily for Advent Time-1st Week Thursday, 12-3-20, Year B
READINGS: 1st Reading Is, 26:1-6; 2nd, Gospel Mt 7:21, 24-27

Theme: Prepare to Meet Christ

The old Scouting mantra, “be prepared,” not only means to be trained and ready to meet any challenge in the wilderness, but can have even farther reaching meaning in being ready for when Christ comes and our salvation is at hand.

In both Boy and Girl Scouts, the young man or woman, is mentored and trained in the ways of the outdoors, through workshops, earning merit badges and skills like fishing and shelter building. They train and practice their skills through hands-on camping, canoeing and hiking trips and learn to use the tools of survival like fire making, map reading and using a compass. They constantly refer to their scouting manual for reinforcement of skills, references on topics and education and inspiration. Eventually, the Scouts are released into the woods on their own to use their skills and training to survive and thrive.

Alternatively, those who never took part in Scouting or outdoor training of any kind would most likely find themselves lost in the woods, hungry and in danger from exposure to the elements and animals. They would find great difficulty in surviving and would need the help of others to be rescued.

Both Isaiah and Jesus are saying the same thing in the readings today. The Lord is great and does great things for us but if we do not prepare ourselves to meet Him, either at the end of our earthly life, or when He comes in His glory to reconcile us all to him, we are in danger of not being able to survive.

So, the time is now, to join that Scouting troop which is the Church and learn all the skills we need to survive and thrive in the next life. Things like prayer, the Sacraments, workshops, and religious education. We should then practice these skills and training through actual field experiences by going to church, praying with others, partaking in a ministry or two and sharing our faith at home and at work. We also need to refer to our manual, the Bible, often for reinforcement of these skills, referencing important topics and to educate ourselves and be inspired. Finally, we need to go out into the world and use these skills to bring the Gospel to others as Christ commanded.

Those who do not prepare will find it difficult to fulfill Christ’s command to spread the good news because they will be ill-prepared to meet the challenges that come in persecutions and hardships that accompany evangelization in a challenging world.

Christ expects us to build our house on rock by being prepared in our spiritual life. Those who put off tomorrow what they can do today will be the ones who built their house on sand.

We should always be prepared in our spiritual life so that when Christ comes, we will win the crown of salvation. 

Saint Francis Xavier
Born: Navarre, Spain in 1506

Saint Francis Xavier studied under St. Ignatius of Loyola and was one of the founding Jesuits who preached in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Japan. With Saint Thérése of the Child Jesus, was the co-patron of apostleship of prayer and of foreign missions. 

Saint Francis Xavier died in 1552 at the age of 46 on the island of Sancian off the China coast – in sight of the great destination of his final mission.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL