Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent
During last springs ‘lock-down,’ when our churches, schools and many businesses were closed, someone sent me a picture of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet walking away from the reader. The caption read, “Home is the only place to be right now, Piglet…” As true as that is in our current climate, it’s not easy. In years gone by, many would spend the coming days traveling home: parents would welcome home students while others would welcome home relatives and friends for the season. In any other year, people would welcome people into their homes for Christmas parties and visits. But not this year. This year is different… things are not the same for our homes.
And yet, the readings this weekend speak to us about “Home.” In the First Reading, King David wants to build a house for God. Imagine a shepherd turned King and has the gall to think that he could, “build a house for God?” In the Gospel we hear how Mary humbly “provided” a home for God’s Son by carrying the child for 9 months and then giving birth to Him…along with Joseph, provided an actual home for him.
As we draw near to the great feast of Christmas, for many of us, Christmas is a nostalgic time…a time for remembering, recalling our homes and all the blessings that we have received. But what about the home of our heart? Physically, we may not be able to open up our homes to others because of the pandemic. What about God? Are we willing to open our hearts to Jesus?
And as songs, poems and other writings tell us, “there is no place like home…” or “home is where the heart is…” Home is where we find comfort and peace… well most times. No too long ago, I was watching the news and a commercial for a car came on. A woman, presumably a wife and mother comes home from shopping and when she opens the door, this is what she sees: the house is in a mess; kids are all over the place… and where is dad? Helping one of the kids to decorate the Christmas Tree with a drone! Quickly, she slams the door shut and runs to her car. She puts on some soothing music and begins to relax. For a few moments this car has become her home of comfort and peace.
We, too, need comfort and reassurance in these most troubling of times. The virus continues, and while we are hopeful for the vaccine, we still need to be vigilant until we receive it. So, thinking about Mary and how she provided a home for Jesus, giving him her very own heart will we do the same? In light of the challenging times we live in, will we allowour faith togive us hope and strengthen to face each day anew, knowing that with our God, nothing is impossible.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we enter our final week before Christmas we need not look to the extraordinary, the spectacular or the miraculous to find where God has built us a home. God-Is-With-Us “Emmanuel” always. God builds a home in the ordinary of our lives, where we live but also in our hopes and blessings, in our wounds, our hurts and in our struggles. Most of all, God builds His home in our hearts.
The old adage comes to mind, “home is where the heart is…” because that is where God resides. Pooh was right when he said to piglet: “Home is the only place to be right now…” AMEN