Dec. 18th Fourth Sunday of Advent A

Introduction:

The first reading reminds us today that God the Father sent us Jesus to recreate us as his family. This is the good news Paul describes, his closeness to us. As fathers, mothers or general carers lets do the same for all and confess if we fail in this.

Homily

One day I was visiting a home. A little girl was on the floor in the sitting room, her father was in the kitchen preparing lunch. She said “sheesh, don’t call dad, I’m preparing a present for him”. She took an empty match box, wrapped it in colored paper, so that it seemed a gorgeous present, went in and presented it to him. He understood, kissed her and said, “thank’s baby”. That match box wasn’t empty, it was full, full of love. It was love returned, what parents and children need above all.

A popular song about a mother and son makes the point well. The son gives a piece of paper to his mother. It reads: for mowing the lawn 2 dollars, for watching my little brother 1 dollar, for putting out the garbage 2 dollars, and so on. The mother turns over the page and writes: for the nine months I carried you growing inside me – no charge; for the nights I sat up with you, doctored you, prayed for you – no charge; for buying your clothes and wiping your nose – no charge; for the advice and the knowledge and cost of your college – no charge. She finishes: when you add it all up the cost of true love is no charge. The son, realizing his ingratitude, kisses his mother.

We are sometimes like that with God. Far from appreciating all he’s done for us, we make endless demands. God might write: for the world and the pleasures of life I gave you – no charge; for still loving you when you turned away to follow violent selfish ways; for sending Jesus to bring you and the world back to happiness and innocence; for the agonies of the cross He suffered gladly for you; for giving you my risen Son to be with you forever as Savior; for the victory he won over sin and death for you; for the holy church he gave you to be your spiritual home; for the heaven he opened for you where you can be happy forever after your life and work in this life is done – no charge. The cost of God’s love is no charge. Lets return our’s in kind.

Not just to mothers but fathers. They seem an endangered species now? Is militant feminism making them more sidelined? In any case I say to fathers who’re caring for their family, take heart. We are with you, God’s with you, in your work to create a life for your family. Lets all pray for Dads hanging in there, overworked and unappreciated and give them a good hug this week.

Mother or father, parents are the salt of the earth. God is the perfect Father and mother. We’re not just his people, but his family. In Christ he made us his adopted sons and daughters, but even before that from all eternity he loved us individually. That’s what life’s about, love. We come to church to say to God, we love you. For Jesus’s prayer, the Our Father, tells us to call God Daddy. But there’s a third father we sometimes forget. We call priests father and say they should marry. But we forget they’ve already a family in their parishioners. They need love and support. For though imperfect, they do their best to bring us to our heavenly home. They teach that all else passes but Christ’s lord of grace and peace for our happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen. As God’s family, called to faithful love in our homes and in the church, lets profess the faith.

Prayers of the Faithful

We pray for our Holy Father and all the leaders of God’s family the church, that the lord may lead them in loving parental care for their Christian family and all earth’s people…

For state authorities and leaders in society, that they may care for all in love, justice and fairness, and be especially mindful of their needy children, the poor and less well off.

For our youth that they may find time for their heavenly Father and his home, the church in their lives, knowing that that’s where lasting happiness lies for this world and the next.

For ourselves in our homes: as parents, may we keep our families happy, loved, well-fed, clothed, housed and faithful to the faith and their larger family the church this Christmas and always.

For senior citizens, sick, lonely and needy relatives this Christmas, that through our care for them in body and soul – visiting, feeding, clothing and comforting them in love – they may know the gentle love of Christ.

For all our beloved dead, especially parents and grandparents who have passed away, that they may receive the reward of their care and love from their heavenly Father in His eternally enjoyable and happy heavenly home, which is full of all good things.

And we ask all these prayers through Christ Our Lord, in the power of the Holy, to God the Father who cares for us all with infinite love as our Heavenly Father, amen.

Reflection

At Christmas we often forget Jesus’s earthly father, St.Joseph. We couldn’t have a better model for parents and all carers. He saved Mary from being stoned to death. And he saved the infant Jesus by fleeing across the desert into Egypt. And he spent his whole life working as a carpenter to keep Jesus and Mary in comfort. So we pray now the prayer we all learned to him, his Son and wife that they will watch over us and our families..Jesus, Mary and Joseph I give you my heart and my soul etc.

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