Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

1 Advent C: fire and ice

Expand Messages
  • D.M. Hanson
    Homily: First Sunday of Advent (Year C) 2000 Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 [Adult version] Perhaps you remember Robert
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      Homily: First Sunday of Advent (Year C) 2000
      Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

      [Adult version]

      Perhaps you remember Robert Frost's poem Fire and Ice:

      Some say the world will end in fire,
      Some say in ice.
      From what I've tasted of desire
      I hold with those who favor fire.
      But if it had to perish twice,
      I think I know enough of hate
      To say that for destruction ice
      Is also great
      And would suffice.

      Frost's poem is a good commentary on today's gospel which also is
      much concerned with the end of the world and likewise offers two
      views, two takes on the outcome. On the one hand we hear a rather
      dismal forecast:

      25 "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 sea
      and the waves.
      26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon
      the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

      And on the other hand it is not all bad news. Luke continues:

      27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power
      and great glory.
      28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your
      heads because your redemption is at hand."

      To paraphrase: "the world is coming to an end, but I don't mean that
      in a bad way." Much depends on your point of view. To the outsider,
      the person of no faith, or little experience of the bible, this
      apocalyptic passage sounds like a bad screenplay to Sylvester
      Stallone's next action adventure movie: heavy on blowing things up;
      short on plot. But to a persecuted Christian community at the end of
      the first century the real message lies in the second part.

      "But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your
      heads because your redemption is at hand."

      So far from being a preacher's trick to scare the rubes into right
      living, this passage offers consolation to folks who are up against
      it in every way. The storm and stress of this apocalypse, though
      presented as a future terror, really describes their sufferings in
      the present age. But Jesus is coming to redeem his people.
      Suffering's days are numbered; a new and better world is about to be
      born. Which brings us back to Robert Frost.

      Up to a point, we get to write the ending. We get to shape the
      outcome. Fire or ice, desire or hate: human choices. The pain we
      inflict on each other? Or the joy we bring; the goodness we
      share? "People will die of fright"? or "stand erect and raise your
      heads"? Which will it be? How the end plays out is in some measure up
      to us. If we remain faithful, trusting in God, supporting each other,
      repenting our sins, and stretching toward the kingdom each day then
      Jesus comes as our redeemer and there is no place for fear "because
      [our] redemption is at hand."


      [Children's version]

      Did you ever think how the same words can mean two different, even
      completely opposite things?

      1. Jimmy, I told you to behave yourself. I told you to stop rough-
      housing in the living room. Now go to your room and wait till you
      father gets home.

      2. Jessica, what a wonderful picture you made. Wow! It's beautiful!
      Wait till your father gets home and sees it.

      Same words; different meaning. Same words; different feeling.
      · What do you think Jimmy feels like when he hears "wait till
      your father gets home"?
      · And what do you think Jessica is feeling when she hears "wait
      till your father gets home"?

      * * *

      So also with today's gospel. There are two ways to take it. Some
      people will feel this way:

      25 "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 sea
      and the waves.
      26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon
      the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

      And other people will feel like this:

      27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power
      and great glory.
      28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your
      heads because your redemption is at hand."

      What needs to happen to be in the second group, to feel like the
      people who are happy and excited to welcome Jesus? What can you and I
      do to make that happen?

      Children, whenever Jesus comes back, whether it is tomorrow or next
      year, or not for a thousand years it will be a happy time for
      everyone who loves him and loves his sisters and brothers. Then we
      will say: "Wait till Jesus gets home" and jump for joy.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.