Sermons

Summary: Advent - A Season of Hope

Seeds for Sowing, Vol. V, Issue 1, No. 2

Second Sunday of Advent - Year C

December 10, 2000

Readings

* Bar. 5:1-9

* Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11

* Luke 3:1-6

Hopeful Dreamers

A Season of Hope.

Singing and laughing--that’s something we all love to do. Maybe not all of us can sing well, but we all know how to laugh. And if we ourselves don’t sing, most of us enjoy hearing others sing. In today’s psalm, we proclaim that when we realized the Lord had delivered us from slavery, we spontaneously broke out into laughter and song. Christ has saved us from ourselves--from our inclination to see the worst in ourselves. In fact our relationship with Christ encourages us to see the best in ourselves and in life.

We may sow in tears but we will reap in joy. The prophet tells us to take off our dress of sorrow and distress, and to put on the beauty of the glory of God. It seems that our task is to claim all that Jesus Christ has won for us. As we heard last week there is a temptation to get caught up in the cares of daily life. And we all know how easily this can happen. There’s always something to do. Always something to capture our attention. It’s so easy to let our minds always be full of what is immediate or what is worrisome.

Birthdays can provide a kind of break to that kind of preoccupation. On our birthdays many of us are able to step back and take a kind of meditative look at our lives. Birthdays often remind us of the larger picture of our lives. It can be a time to look back and see how things have been; it also is a time to look forward and to dream a little about how we would like the rest of our lives to be. As we prepare to celebrate the 2000th birthday of Jesus, it would be good to do the same sort of thing that we do on our own birthdays.

A Season for Dreamers

Advent is a season for dreamers. If you’re not a dreamer then there isn’t much about this season that’s going to make sense to you. Why spend four weeks or so preparing for the coming of Christ when he already came 2000 years ago? Is this some kind of game we Christians play each year at this time just to keep ourselves occupied? If it’s not a game, then what exactly are we doing during this time of the year?

Well, as you know, this is not a game. Liturgy is a wonderful support for our lives as Christians, and it would hardly be fitting to waste four weeks just pretending that something was going to happen, while all the while knowing that it already happened! Here’s what the Catholic Catechism says: "When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming." (Catholic Catechism, par. 519). So we are told that by sharing in that preparation that took place long ago, we are renewing our desire for the second coming of Christ. And so back to my comments about this being a season for dreamers. Yes, we dream of Christ’s returning and of all that will bring. And we believe that our dreams have the promise of Jesus himself holding them up.

Dreaming is hoping. Without dreams and hope, life shrivels up, and becomes nothing more than a dry stick, stuck in the sand. Without hope, tomorrow is just a boring repeat of today. As God’s people we are called to hope in spite of all the pain and suffering we see around us. Hope will move us to see that things can be different.

Sowing in Tears

Our Psalm today contains a truth that we must never forget:

"Those who are sowing in tears

will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out,

full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing:

they come back, they come back,

full of song, carrying their sheaves."

Sowing seed is an act of faith. In Jesus’ time, if you were poor, it was a great act of faith. Many times the seed was a large portion of their food supply. To plant that seed instead of consuming it took a lot of faith. There was no guarantee that their crops would ever come to fruition. They were exposed to robbers, invading armies, and all kinds of evil people every day. They had no walls or means of defense. All they had was the promise of God. What great faith it took to plant the seed in the face of such adversity! To gain future blessings, we must be willing to give up present benefits.

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