Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
1st Sunday of Advent
December 2, 1986
Advent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons – and I think I like it because I need its message. I need what it has to offer. I do not like the hours of daylight at this time of year – that, to me is depressing! But in contrast to all this darkness, the light of Christmas will be all the more noticed and appreciated.
I do not like to see people facing all the pressures of our society in a frenzy of buying and partying and working endless hours to satisfy wants that cannot all be wholesome.
Liturgically I remember how beautiful the Entrance Antiphons were for the Sundays of Advent – their melodies still come back to mind once in a while. John the Baptist is one of my favorite biblical people. He is about the theme of Advent. The peace, quiet and interiority of Advent which I see fully lived in Mary awaiting the birth of her son Jesus is the perfect contrast to the often superficial business of the world’s preparation for Christmas.
It is a time of waiting and preparation for God’s presence and favor upon us.
And that is what I need most – to learn how to wait. I am the type who wants cars ahead of me to move so as to not miss the light. I seem to always get in the line that does not move as fast as the other lines in stores. I find waiting at the doctor’s or dentist’s absolutely endless.
When I catch myself wishing that a few minutes – an hour – a day or more would just go by – then I know that I am not living fully. I am not really waiting the way Advent teaches us to wait. If life is like the last half hour on Fridays – at school or work – then life is being wasted.
Wanting time to go by fast is an indication of periods of life that are meaningless, empty or too difficult to bear. They are precious moments that could certainly be lived otherwise.
Waiting for the Lord is not wishing time away. It has to become the fullness of life – the fullness of awareness – the openness of all our senses as disciples or servants ready and willing to respond to God’s presence.
Advent is far from an empty time before the important event of Christmas. It is a time of new awareness that can allow us to know what really happens at Christmas.