Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homily: Third Sunday of Advent: Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?

Who is your favorite super-hero and Why? The top three are Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. Superman because he can fly, Batman because he has lots of cool toys, and Spiderman who says: Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man.

I have to admit one of my recent favorites is Iron Man. Why? Well, to be honest I think it’s because he is so real, flawed, and funny. The last two movies show a hero that is somewhat dependable, sometimes he’s too drunk, other times he’s pre-occupied. He’s wild, witty, and unpredictable. What I like the most is his candor. I don’t think I’d want him to be the one saving me necessarily, but I think he does show that superheroes are not always what they are cracked up to be.

He actually has some resemblance to John the Baptist. John the Baptist himself was wild and unpredictable. He was also very loud and outspoken so much so that it got him imprisoned by Herod who feared John was going to turn people against him. So John finds himself in need of a Hero.

Imagine John the Baptist in prison. Things are looking pretty bad. He begins to hear about this man Jesus who is doing amazing things and seems to be fulfilling the prophecy that he has been proclaiming. John had glimpsed Jesus’ divinity when he baptized him, he had spoken out against Herod, and when Jesus heard about John’s imprisonment he withdrew to Galilee and from that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

He saw such great faith in John the Baptist. And it seems at this point that John may be beginning to give up hope. Out of desperation he finally sends his disciples to Jesus to ask him: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Matthew 11

That’s an honest candid question. It’s like he was getting desperate and didn’t want to mess around with Jesus if he wasn’t the one. John just really wanted to know if he could put his hopes on Jesus or not. And I think if it was OK for John the Baptist to ask it, it’s OK for us to ask it.

As we enter into this third Sunday of Advent maybe things haven’t been panning out quiet the way we have expected. Maybe you find your self imprisoned and beginning to give up hope. Maybe your feeling imprisoned in your marriage and beginning to give up hope. Or maybe you’re beginning to give up hope in your alcoholic son. Maybe you’re tempted to give up hope with a longtime friend who hasn’t been a very good friend. Or maybe with the scandals and the church closings you’re tempted to give up hope in your church. Maybe you’ve felt empty when you go to prayer or feel like you “get nothing out of it” when you come to mass. Or to get even more personal, maybe there is a compulsion or an addiction that you are struggling. Maybe you’re suffering from an illness that is chronic and debilitating. Maybe you’ve been unemployed for months and you just can’t take the rejection of another interview. If you’re at the point of giving up hope let this be your question to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

This Sunday we celebrate “Gaudete Sunday” also known as “Rejoice Sunday!” I think at times we all tend to doubt God’s presence or power. We’ve been disappointed by so many “hero’s” in our lives who haven’t lived up to what they are called to be. But on this Sunday we are reminded over and over again that we do have a savior and salvation is almost here. We are so close “The coming of the Lord is at hand” James 5 and “He comes to save us.” Isaiah 35

I think one of the movie genres that will never die is the super-hero movie: Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, because we all need a hero. We need someone to break us free from our prisons and slavery. And we need it to be someone that we can trust and depend on that will never fail us. We have that man in Jesus. Don’t be afraid to ask him personally. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

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