Saturday, November 28, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 1st Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29th, 2015 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

A week from this coming Monday, on December 7,
we'll mark 50 years since Vatican II issued
the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,
Gaudium et Spes, which said:
”the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing
the signs of the times
and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel.
Thus, in language intelligible to each generation,
she can respond to the perennial questions...
about this present life and the life to come,
and about the relationship of the one to the other.
We must therefore recognize and understand
the world in which we live....”
Signs of the times.
Look at them.
Look at the world.
Figure out what the signs say
about life now and in the future.
Figure out what the signs say
about our relationships with one another.
Today's Gospel has Jesus talking about the signs of Luke's time—
10 to 30 years after the destruction of the Temple—
a time of chaos and disruption and diaspora.
He says we can see the signs of the time in nature and in the world
—the sun, the moon, the stars,
the roaring of the sea and the waves,
the shaking of the heavens.
We're warned to stay awake and alert—
not to get sleepy from “carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life—
because the times will “assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.”
We're told to keep watch
and pray for strength to escape what's coming.
We know what's coming for planet Earth.
Scientists tell us
that the sun will burn up all its hydrogen in 4 billion years or so,
and that human life will not survive here even that long,
probably about a billion years.
But we may have significantly fewer than a billion years,
given the signs of destruction we see
as a result of our misuse and abuse of our common home.
We can read the signs of our time.
It snowed last week; winter's coming.
But my spring candytuft has been in bloom for two weeks.
And the elderberries sprouted new leaves this week.
Our climate is changing, and it doesn't look good.
This Advent season can help us get
what Msgr. William Mehrkens calls
an “eschatological perspective,”
a view into the future that reminds us of who we are,
where we came from,
where we're going,
and what’s really important.
It's like the college student
who is more likely to make good decisions and use time well
because she keeps graduation and a profession in mind.
If we don't think about the future,
we can get caught up in day-to-day life
and forget what's really important for the long haul.
Sometimes the signs of the time hit us in a very personal way.
Something changes in our life,
and our world is shaken, even destroyed.
It feels like a cosmic catastrophe.
Our children graduate and move out of state,
our job is downsized,
our spouse has an affair,
we develop health problems—
our world is in shambles.
Whether we see the collapse in our personal lives
or in the world at large,
it takes work to find balance again.
We can't change the past.
We can't control the future.
We have right now, this space, this day, this time
to use what we have
to set our world right again.
So we pay attention to what's going on.
We work at making good decisions in our lives.
We learn to live for others
and to do justice in working for human rights.
We get rid of habits of greed, racism, and violence.
We take time to remember what life’s all about.
Here at Holy Spirit we've been reading the signs of the times
and using the present moment
to bring about that safe and secure world
that Jeremiah wrote about,
that reign of peace and justice that God promises.
We do it with Tree Toledo.
We do it with our donations to local efforts
like the Padua Center and 1Matters and Rahab's Heart.
We do it with volunteer time for UsTogether and Pax Christi
and the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition and Hospice.
There is hope for us—for all of us.
God is with us, among us, and in us.
So we know that the day is coming.
It will be a day of justice and peace.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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