Father Mark, Sermons

Advent 1C; Luke 21 ff

One of these days… How many times do you catch yourself saying to yourself, “One of these days….?” Do you have a list in your mind called the “One of these days” list? Do you ever find yourself saying, One of these days I’m going to___________.” How would you finish the sentence?

What’s on your One of these days list? It’s easy to put off something on our one of these days list. We have so many demands on our time…but how many of the demands on our time are the things we have chosen—not that have been imposed upon us? Do we really have to do all the things that we think we have to do? By what authority? Sometimes I wonder if we surrender to the “Have to do” list in our heads without even examining if we really have to do them out of habit or outside influence , if we are giving away our God given free will.

Jesus is coming…where is it or in what way do you think that Jesus wants to show up to us this coming year? The best way we prepare for the Advent of Jesus’ coming by being in the present moment.

Research reveals that our minds at least 47% of the time (I think it’s more) are involved either in past memories or thoughts about the future. How easy it is for the mind to wander…. Our minds whether we like it or not, put thoughts in our heads. Our minds are good at noticing what we want and ignoring what we don’t.

I used to read a series of books to my children and now my children read to my grandchildren. They are a series of books called Find Waldo Now.

Just in case you don’t know about the series, there are detailed pictures where there are people in various detailed settings and you have to look diligently to find the picture of Waldo in his red and white striped clothes. I think that Advent is something like this: Find Jesus Now.

Where is Jesus hidden in the picture of our lives waiting for us to find him?

Where is Jesus showing up?

One question I have found helpful is the concern Jesus shares with his disciples: Be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down….

Where is it that our hearts are weighed down? Where are hearts are weighed down we are not free and our wills become imprisoned in a world that is neither created by ourselves or by God.

Sometimes we find the weight laid upon us through external events. Other times we inadvertently choose them. Either way, our hearts become burdened and the eye of the heart unclear.

Our lives can be going pretty well—but I am not sure that with a little reflection each of us might find somewhere in our hearts where we are weighed down—weighed down just enough, so that we’re not really running on all of our spiritual cylinders.

Jesus is coming to take the weight off our hearts. Our first step to removing them is by the practice ofbeing present to him with what it is that weighs down our hearts. Sometimes it’s the little things that we disregard that can weigh us down so it’s easy to minimize their importance—hoping they will go away. But if unattended, like mold and mildew, they proliferate.

St. Paul mentioned this in that as spiritually strong as he was, he spoke of that thorn in the flesh that often seemed to hinder him. So what are some of the things in our lives that weigh down our hearts? They can be past events or present challenges or even preoccupation with the future.

Where is Jesus now in your life picture waiting for you, like Waldo, to find him?

Do we wish that Jesus would go to another part of the picture because where he is waiting would be a place that we don’t especially want to visit? Thorns are uncomfortable. Metaphorically, as I travel the countryside, I see acres of pasture that was once wilderness which has been cleared of thorns.

A new year brings opportunities. We have 365 days of present moments where we have the opportunity allow Jesus to hold our hearts in his and to release us from that which has prevented us from fully receiving the life of God given to us.

It’s Advent. We wait for Jesus. But Jesus is also waiting for us.

Stop what you are doing. Take time to seek the Eternal One who waits for us.

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