posted on December 09, 2012 15:42
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
December 9, 2012 - Second Sunday of Advent
10 AM Service
“All flesh will see God.” You and I are the flesh. But for us to really see God we have to listen to Isaiah and we have to reach out and hear the cry of the poor, and we have to make the crooked way straight. We have to bring justice into everyone's life, and peace into everyone's heart. All those words can sound very glamorous and comforting, but where is that cry of the poor?
It's not just in Jerusalem where they're always having problems. It's not down in Haiti where they are never going to see beautiful homes and condos and malls. It's right here in our own midst and it's in all of us. And our cries are different.
There may be someone sitting at home right now just staring at a bottle of bourbon, or a newly opened carton of cigarettes, and they can't resist either one. But they wish somebody would ask, “How are you doing? Would you care to come to church?”
There might be someone at home sitting at their computer and instead of
e-mailing someone on Facebook and saying “Happy Birthday” or “Merry Christmas” - they are going to put something on Facebook that is going to destroy someone's character and it's going to be sent all over the world. And that person would say, “If I could just avoid this in my life …”
There are some people in this world who are filled with thoughts of money and they cannot resist the greed and they are in the process of taking money from the wrong places. They don't need the money, they just want to take it from someone else. And that someone else could use it to so his or her family could have a beautiful Christmas, and Santa could come with joy.
Why is it the cry of the poor is always there?
And you and I are the poor. We might say this morning, “What's my cry? What's inside of me that makes me feel poor? It might not be anything super-fantastic that is wrong. But what's inside of me that makes my heart ache and want someone to come to me, and help me, and make smooth the road - and to help me realize that I don't have to climb that hill alone but it's made low.”
And yet, Jesus comes and John comes before him. John said, “I'm the voice. I'm calling you to a baptism of repentance. Now I want you to find your voice and to call your neighbor and your family. I want you to bring everything alive because we all have to be ready when Jesus sets foot and comes into your heart.”
And yet some are thinking, “But if I stare at that bottle, or if I smoke that carton of cigarettes before 11:30, or if I abuse the use of technology, or if I ignore someone else - I am putting myself in prison and why would I want to be in prison? Why can't I set myself free?
Jesus says, “I am the one who will set you free. I'm going to come on Christmas Day, and I will come as that baby in swaddling clothes. But you're going to find out very quickly that I grow up. And when I grow up I speak to all the flesh, and I have a voice and those who hear my voice will follow me.”
And so this morning in this season of Advent as we light the candles and as we get ready to go home and say, “We still need some more gifts, and we still need to write cards and we need to finish the list.” Those are Christmas things. But for Christmas to really be Christmas in every home, we simply have to put on the garment of John the Baptist, not Chiapas. All those rulers, there is a reason they were mentioned before John comes in. They had power. They had glory. John comes in dressed with a piece of cloth so thin it just clung to his body, eating locusts and wild honey, and looking around and saying, “Hear me. And it's not about me. It's about the one coming after me. I know who my cousin is, he is the Son of God.”
That's our message. That's why today we need to put Merry Christmas back into our lives. We need to change that culture. And we need to make sure that joy lives in everyone's heart. But it won't live there unless we hear the cry of the poor and we know what real love is all about.
Love is not a sentiment. Love is about saying, “I must step forward and I must be responsible.” And if I'm going to be responsible I can't just look in the mirror and say, “Oh, I love you. I have to go out and tell someone else that they are loved. I need to go out and not change them but just listen to them. To let them find their own voice and when they find their own voice it will proclaim that Jesus is Lord. So when we come to church on Christmas Day, we're going to realize one man came for all flesh, and I am the flesh.
That Child in the manager knows the answer. Do I not only want the answer, but when I find the answer for myself will I make a difference in someone else's life?
That's why we say Merry Christmas. That's why we buy gifts. That's why we send cards. That's why we have parties. That's why we come to each other's house.
It's bringing the flesh together so that the flesh will have one voice.
And the one voice will be the voice of God who took that responsibility to suffer and to die so that the rest of the world will hear the cry of the poor and be filled with joy.
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.