Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2015

•Jeremiah 33: 14-16; I Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-46•

Weekly Scripture Readings:First Sunday of Advent

The darkening days of late November physically remind us it is Advent.  As we gathered today I invited you into this season with the words of the Trappist monk and mystic, Thomas Merton:

“Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent

            and the divine is shining through it all the time.”

I ponder his words and recognize in them the possibilities offered us in Advent.

“Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent

             and the divine is shining through it all the time.”

The gospel of Luke will accompany and guide us through this liturgical year.  We begin his gospel today, not at the beginning, but nearly at the end.  Chapter 21 is a brief apocalyptic passage. “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the seas and the waves.”   Our growing awareness of the implications of global warming would make it easy to think of those cosmic images as foretelling a future now occurring in our day. They are not!  They are figures of speech communicating a spiritual message about that Gracious Mystery we name God present in and throughout the entire cosmos.  Let’s set those cosmic  images aside and focus on that message.

This season was established for the purpose of focusing our attention on the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  There is value in that, especially when we realize it is about his birth in us — now and in this place. That is what the words of Thomas Merton can do for us.

“Life is this simple” Merton reminds us.  “We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent.” The word “transparent” is an adjective.  It means, “allowing the uninterrupted passage of light.”  A window is transparent.  It is easy to see through a window.  For Merton “the world is transparent.”

And “the divine is shining through it all the time.”  The Gracious Mystery we name God is the evolving Mystery at the heart of the cosmos.  “God acts from within us, through us, and through the ongoing evolutionary process.”  Surely you remember the astounding beauty of autumn leaves under the brilliant blue sky of Autumn.  Such beauty moved Gerard Manley Hopkins to exclaim with wonder and joy: “the world is charged with the grandeur of God!” 

Sitting quietly in silence and looking at yourself, your relationships and your life is a good practice.  When you are honest, kind and gentle with yourself, you see the goodness placed deep within you.  You see all the good that you do in word and deed.  You see “the divine shining through all the time.”  Merton is correct. “Life is simple!”

The Jesus I have come to know in the gospels is different than the Jesus of my youth.   For most of my life I have pondered our existence. Our existence is a mysterious reality.  The Jesus I have come to know in the gospels awakens me to the mystery of what we really are.  If you are open to and welcome what he speaks, your life will never be the same again.

He invites you to recognize the divinity within you.  He invites you to live in harmony with the radiance of the divinity within you. “The divine is shining through us all the time.”   Ponder this.  Our deepest truth is that we’re all “divine being manifesting as human being.”

Ponder this. From birth to childhood, to adolescence, and into adulthood, we change so much. Yet regardless of your age, and through all of your life experiences, something about you has remained unchanged.  Something in you is now as it ever was. That which is the same throughout your entire life is the spark of divinity within you. You are a son, a daughter of God.

There is far more to Advent than some sort of magic. You have made the lists, will shop, wrap presents, write cards, enjoy pageants and party with family and friends. We all will.  But we all know, as wonderful as it all is, there is far more to Advent than some sort of magic.  I hope this homily will help you pursue “the more than” and free the divinity within you to radiate outward.

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One Response to Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2015

  1. Kenny says:

    I believe “Life should be simple” as did those before us. But it is not.

    Breathing is life, we can do it without thinking, it is a function we have from the divine.

    I think many will agree, once we start interacting with other human beings, life is no longer simple. From the playground on through.

    If we can go to a place of quiet and meditate, even be quiet for long periods of time such as those who do divinity sacrifices for a year or more without speaking and living simply, then I believe life can be simple. We gain a stronger connection with God, we trust and are provided.

    Human beings are supposed to be the most evolved beings on our planet. Is it not the humans who cause the most destruction to the planet?

    Kenny

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