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 December 20th, 2009 A.D. 4th Sunday in Advent Luke 1/39-45

Catholic Homilies

December 20th, 2009 A.D.

4th Sunday in Advent Luke 1/39-45

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Background:

  The big celebration begins, a festival of light and love, of joy and laughter, of family and community and world. Light is mentioned almost twenty times in the course of today's liturgy. On one of the darkest days of the year, light explodes all around us. The sun is sneaking back, just as Jesus kind of sneaked into the world in the quiet of Bethlehem.

 For us in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas is a midwinter feast, a time when the days grow a little longer and light and warmth return slowly. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, however, it is the beginning of summer. School is over. It is a time for vacation (or as they would call it "holidays"), for rest and relaxation.

It marks not the shortest day of the year but the longest, the day of the most light and on the average the most warmth. Christmas fits in everywhere.

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00spc.gif (820 bytes) Story:

Once upon a time there were two kids who were fed up with Christmas. They began an anti-Christmas campaign among their friends. Look, they said, everyone is tense and worn out, moms are tired from cooking, dads from putting up trees and decorations, kids from wrapping presents, neighbors from all the noise and bustle. We open the presents and they're not really what we wanted, though we thought we did. The house is littered with torn wrapping paper, expensive ornaments get knocked off the trees, the little kids go out of control, big kids sulk, mass is too long, the sermons are boring, the music is yucky. We eat too much . . .Who needs it all. So what should we do asked their friends. Strike! Said the two trouble-makers who were, if truth be told, Anarchists of a sort. Refuse to participate. Don't buy any Christmas presents, don't ask for any, refuse those that are given to you, don't decorate the tree, don't eat the pumpkin pie, don't drink the eggnog, don't say merry Christmas to anyone. A few of their friends thought they were crazy. The others thought it was a great idea.

 But what should we do? The strike leaders went to the priest and asked him what they should do. Well, he said, if you want to welcome the Christ Child without all the fuss and bother, come to church and pray. They thought that was a great idea. How could parents and other grown ups object to their praying on Christmas Day. Well, they prayed for a solid hour, which maybe doubled all their prayer for the whole year. Then one of them rushed out of church and flagged down the priest who was about to drive off to his family's party. We prayed for an
hour, Father, the kid said. Can we go home now? An hour? That's a long time to pray! Yeah it kind of is. Well, said the priest I don't think that Jesus would mind one bit if you went home and celebrated with your families. The kids poured out of church with a whoop and a holler just like it was the last day of school.

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Psalm 80:1-3,13-19

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!  You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before E'phraim and Benjamin and Manas'seh! Stir up your might, and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see;  have regard for this vine,
15 the stock which your right hand planted.
16 They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance!
17 But let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you hast made strong for yourself!
18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name!
19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let your face shine, that we may be saved!

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 That's a long time to pray! Yeah it kind of is. Well, said the priest I don't think that Jesus would mind one bit if you went home and celebrated with your families. The kids poured out of church with a whoop and a holler just like it was the last day of school
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