First Sunday of Advent - December 2, 2018 (Thoman)
Jer 33:14-16 I Th 3:12-4:2 | Lk 21:25-28, 34-36
I. One day this past week I walked past some of the cut back flowers and bushes on
our campus and it occurred to me it looked like they were waiting. Then I
noticed the dried up hostas and I looked up into the trees – all quiet and still,
leafless – they too seemed to be waiting.
Waiting for something more…waiting for life to stir in them once
again…waiting to return to their former glory. As I looked around at the barren
fields, the dried up grass, the naked gardens, it seems to me all of nature is
II. Advent catches us waiting as well – and it stirs within us all those things we wait
• We wait for ordinary things – like dinner out tonight, a package we’ve
ordered, for the workday to end
• We wait for Christmas and all the family festivities of the season
• We wait for the new year and the promise it holds…better times next year,
• We wait to take a test and complete a course…we wait for graduation…we
wait to finally begin our career
• Or we wait for the birth of a baby…or the birth of that new grandchild…we
wait to hear how our children who live in a far off city are doing
• We might wait for the results of a medical test or the next steps my doctor
recommends for care of my health
• We wait for a deepened prayer life…a closer relationship with the Lord…a
more vibrant faith
• We wait for an end to violence…to a return of civility and sanity in public
life…for peace and harmony among nations
• We wait for goals to be achieved and dreams to be fulfilled….
• And ultimately we wait for the final redemption of our lives as we prepare to
be with our Lord forever.
III. Sometimes we wait patiently as we know certain things must evolve naturally
And follow a prescribed course of events. Sometimes, though, we are impatient
and restless, even frustrated and angry, especially when we sense there is no
resolution in sight. Advent teaches how to wait – whether patiently or
IV. We wait by living Christian virtues – by nurturing within ourselves Christian
qualities which demonstrate our inner strength, maturity and the depth of the
Virtues such as simplicity and responsible stewardship over material things:
which give testimony to the world that fulfillment in life is not measured by
the biggest house, the nicest car and the largest bank account.
Virtues such as honesty and personal integrity: which give witness to the
world that lasting human relationships are not founded on deceit and fraud and
the manipulation of a person for personal gain.
Virtues such as loyalty to friends and family: which verify that these are
the meaningful relationships which ultimately give life meaning and purpose.
Virtues such as being a faith-filled person: which gives witness to the fact
that religious faith gives us balance and perspective and helps us to keep our
head above water.
These – and the whole range of Christian virtues – help us to be strong and
resilient – in a world where fear will want to bring us down. Christians know
their hope will dominate all fear.
V. We wait by reaching out and ministering to the world’s needs – our brothers
in Christ. In that ministry we tell the impatient world that we know the world
is not yet fully redeemed – that the world is full of aches and pains, suffering and
And so we respond by doing something about it. We:
• Feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty
• We alleviate the suffering of the poor, we work to clothe the naked and
shelter the homeless
• We support the ill and we stand by the dying
• We guide and mentor youth who often times wander from the good and holy
path in life.
By practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy we help to advance the
presence of God’s kingdom among us.
VI. And we wait by bringing all of our aches and pains, yes, our own impatience for
the completion of things, into our prayer. There, in prayer, all things find rest
and peace. We bring to prayer those things we can be patient with and those
things which try our patience and vigilance. Because we know in prayer all
things ultimately find their place in God’s own good time and will.
VII. Our waiting – demonstrated by
• A Christian, virtuous lifestyle
• Our visible concern for the needs of the world and
• Our prayer and liturgy show to the world that we are an Advent people.
In the not too distant future – in only a few months really – those lifeless
trees and flowers will stir with life once again. They will bloom and be fruitful.
Their example teaches us that the same thing will happen within the human
heart and the broken, fragile world.
-----------------Fr. Dwayne Thoman