Homily November 29, 2015 First Sunday of Advent
Once again we begin a new church year, and we rapidly approach Christmas and all the celebration that entails. Advent is meant to remind us and renew our resolve and commitment. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Thessalonians today, the importance of love not only among ourselves but for all. Even in the earliest days of the church he was reminding his disciples that love wasn’t limited or meant to be constrained to only those we knew or had relationships with. As God’s love has no bounds, so our love should have no bounds. It should embrace everyone we meet, excluding no one as God himself embraces all. Yet, how is this so, in a world so fractured and divided and even violent? So much misunderstanding, hatred, and selfishness and so many other things permeate the world today, that living a Christian life seems so hard. Yet, as Christians, don’t we see that the biggest sign of our love was the Cross? God’s love came into the world, a man himself, Jesus the Son of God. He came into a fractured broken world to bring and show and embrace all with God’s love. That love was boundless and remains so even today. He loved and even forgave those who betrayed his love, even those who put him to death. Throughout his life, he loved, he counseled, he forgave, but never judged. Ultimately, we must remember there is one and only really one judge and that is myself. Each person and only that person knows their relationship with God and how that relationship effects the love and relationships they have.
Surely, a person can live a life never deviating from the so called straight and narrow, following rules and laws etc, but as Paul says, what is it without love. Who we are is in our heart and mind and soul and only we ourselves and God can know intimately whats there, but ultimately we make the choice of who and what we are, and like it or not are the ultimate judge of our success or failure to love as we are called.
But, let us not get discouraged, as love is not always perfect, at least not yet. All of us can and do at times fall short and need to work with others to ask forgiveness and progress. Love is something that grows and progresses day by day, year by year. Let us not forget Christ’s love and the Cross that forever exhibits that love.