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Monday, December 4, 2017

Stay Alert! The Lord is Coming.

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
First Sunday in Advent, Dec 3, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today -- the first week of Advent -- we focus on our need to prepare for the coming of Our Lord. In fact, it is urgent we stay waiting in joyful hope for the message of today’s Gospel (Mark 13: 33-37) 

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come,"
Jesus says in Mark's Gospel. At this moment, He is nearing the end of His life. Soon the betrayer will sell Our Lord for 30 pieces of silver. Soon a woman will lavish  costly perfume on Him to prepare for His death. Soon Our Lord will cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” But now, with only hours until these last things will take place in Jesus’ life, Our Lord speaks to His disciples,   “Be alert!”

We learn today we must be spiritually prepared. We do not know when the Lord of the house is coming. Whether Our Lord comes in our lifetime or at our last breath, stay awake.

We received a similar heads up just a few weeks ago  when we heard the parable about five foolish virgins, who were not prepared for the coming of their master.

My brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel passage is a serious wake-up call. What if our Lord were to come today? Would He find us watching in joy and expectation out of a life oriented toward prayer and righteous living? Or would he find us asleep?

Our society does not act like Our Lord is returning. They are keeping watch for other things.  A recent study of one pornographic site has revealed that it had over 90 billion video views and 44,000 visitors every minute of every day during the year 2016. Not only that, but, according to surveys, almost 80% of American men between the ages of 18 and 30 admit to watching porn regularly. Half of older men also confess to regular porn viewing.

In the times of Noah, people were not paying attention. They were focused on the things of the world. They  were eating, drinking, and marrying up until the day Noah entered  the ark. Then the floods came. Even today, there are many worldly vices waiting to distract us from the narrow road. And it is a very narrow road.  

Seek conversion now. Seek conversion every day of your life. Wait in expectation with the Mother of Jesus.

For example, this  is the 100-year anniversary of the apparitions of our Lady of Fatima, Portugal. These messages were given to us
to “be watchful and alert.” Let be safe from the harm the devil wishes to inflict upon our souls.

Devotion to the Blessed Mother helps us prepare for the Lord. She teaches us to pray the Rosary and make sacrifices. It is through our continued devotion to God through prayer and sacrifice that we will grow in our relationship with God so that He will keep us firm to the end,
"irreproachable on the day of Our Lord Jesus Christ,"  as Saint Paul encourages us in 1 Cor 1:3-9. 

The Holy Mass is where Jesus is made truly present under the appearance of bread and wine. Let us therefore attend Mass regularly and never turn aside from this gift of grace. This brings us fellowship with God in His Son Jesus Christ. Let us also go to confession frequently, and avoid the near occasion of sin because the devil is prowling around looking for souls to devour.

My brothers and sisters, as we begin this Holy season of Advent, let us reflect on our lives. Are you living the teachings of the Church? Are you prepared to meet Christ? Our lives our short, and this world is ending soon. Therefore, we need to keep watch! May God keep our minds and hearts focused on what truly matters. Amen.

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