Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Advent Year C 2021
When I was in high school, a new road was built behind our home. I remember each morning while eating breakfast, watching from the kitchen window the heavy equipment, dump trucks, backhoes, and bulldozers all hard at work. I can remember how amazed I was at these monster machines pushing the dirt and boulder, raising and widening an old logging road. This memory is a great backdrop in light of the readings for this weekend. They speak to us of a ‘spiritual construction.’
As kids, it was and is fun to play with Tonka toys: backhoes and bulldozers, plowing, digging constructing our little play roads. Even so, for anyone who has worked on a road crew know that road construction can be arduous, dirty and difficult work. Look at the construction crew working on the Harbour Bridge… their goal is to create a smooth, safe roadway, to improve our drive so that, we are able to travel more efficiently. In the First Reading from Baruch and in the Gospel of Luke tell how to draw deeper into the love of God. Like road construction, it’s hard and difficult work: we need to dump our anger, level off our pride, build up our community with good works and kindnesses and pave it with love and our faith.
In the Gospel, John is out preaching about preparing… preparing the people to receive God in a way that has never been experienced before. We know that as we journey throughout life, we will encounter “obstacles” along the way. Things will happen beyond our control and situations will arise… look at what the pandemic has done to us. And yet God’s free gift of love is the “mighty machine” that can help us when these obstacles land in the middle of our road.
Besides the pandemic, what about our journey of faith? Do we take time and energy to do our own ‘road repairs’? Do we address those deep seated resentment or perhaps we’re constantly finding fault, the unwillingness to forgive, dishonesty in our relationships with others? Are we willing to complete the survey for our Synod found in our bulletins or on-line and encourage others to do it or will we just brush it off as a waste of time? Will we build stronger and more efficient roads by taking advantage of the opportunities that come our way…new ways to be the visible church in the greater community?
Coming from my own personal experiences, I know many times of that I have had to make my own road repairs, sometime minor ones: filling in a small pothole of disappointment or discouragement. Other times, I have had to remove rather large obstacles from my road such as addressing an anger. And sometimes my road has required to major or total reconstruction: that is changing my own attitudes or the way I see things. My dear friends, none of know what the future holds for our own roadway, nor what obstacles we will encounter along the way. Yet as God’s people, we trust knowing that we are not alone. God is ever present to all of us no matter what. Or using Advent language: Emmanuel: meaning: “God with us.” Always.