Second Sunday in Advent

Father Shawn Hughes

December 10, 2017



Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  So as we begin to post these homilies on our website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be nothing original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week.  Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it.  ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time.  If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures.  

God bless you.

Father Shawn



Are you ready?  Are you prepared?


This question is on the lips of so many this time of year.

Usually this question means…Have you got your shopping done?  Is the decorating done…the baking?  The question usually has that desperate tone that implies that there is just not enough time to get it all done!!!!


The Advent Season plays with our notion of time.


I came across a very interesting meditation as I prepared for this homily…The author posed the question why does the Lord tell us over and over again, to be awake, to be ready, to be prepared for his Second coming? Why doesn’t he just tell us the day or the hour when he is returning?

His response to this question?  Original Sin.  Original Sin has produced in us the tendency to procrastinate – that is, to prefer the immediate pleasure of some diversion to the hard spiritual work that produces some good in the future.  We would rather spend time on the internet, or net flicks, watching our favourite shows or on facebook or other forms of social media … often just putting in time …than pray, or than spending time doing some of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy…or even for that matter doing some practical thing around the house that needs doing…We procrastinate.


Human Nature would procrastinate…correction…Fallen Human Nature…


Would we be any different with the Lord’s coming?  If we knew the precise day and hour of His coming would we be striving to grow in grace on a regular basis in anticipation of His arrival?  Probably not.  If we knew the time of His coming most of us would most likely leave our repentance and prayer for the day before…at the earliest.

In this light St. Augustine has warned us: “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”   The Lord keeps the day and hour hidden from us so that we will always be on the watch and, one hopes, always be prepared,…always preparing.  We are kept ignorant of the time of his coming so that we are always preparing for it.


He could come any time for any one of us.  That frees us from absolute slavery to our schedule, our calendar and our time clock.  It puts into perspective all the things of this world, which are all good in and of themselves.  …It reveals Him as Lord of All Time.  Time, the first thing He created, only has meaning in relation to Him and should be arranged with Him in View.  Our vigilance for the Lord’s arrival puts the world’s schedule in perspective.  That is why Deacon Blaine emphasised last week and I reiterate… Advent is a time to re-evaluate our use of time…. Working into our daily routine set moments of prayer…praying our Morning Offering, the Rosary, the Angelus… maybe even the Liturgy of the Hours, or other daily reading of Scripture…doing the daily meditations that many took home with them last week and I see a few are still left if you didn’t get one last weekend…Getting to confession on a regular basis…at least once during Advent…and happily I see many more attending daily Mass as their way of living out their Advent preparation for Christmas …These pauses in our day allow the Lord to break into our time, and they remind us that the world’s schedule does not rule us.  These are ways of putting time in its proper place – in service of Him.


This really struck me profoundly this Thursday morning just passed, one of our parishioners here at St. Mary’s, actually our eldest parishioner, Irma Hogan, died.  Irma would have been 100 in February.  She was at Mass last Sunday and for most Sundays before.  She lived on her own and was as clear as could be.  She was even out to Lessons and Carols last Saturday evening because, in her words, our choir and “those young people from Queen’s” would be singing, and she knew it would be beautiful.  Her brother had their daily visit by phone about 9 am Thursday morning.  One of her nieces called to check in at 11 am to tell Irma she was on her way over to drop by…when she arrived…There was Irma in her armchair… rosary  and her prayer books right beside her on her prayer table…the Lord had come for her sometime between 11 am and 11:30 am Thursday morning.


“Of that day or that hour, no one knows.”  Now Irma was almost 100…That day was expected sooner than later…but this is true for all of his…The sober awareness of our Lord’s sudden and unexpected return curbs our procrastination and frees us to live for eternity…Irma didn’t procrastinate… she attended to her spiritual life on a daily basis…Of course, we continue to schedule appointments, keep the calendar and observe our routines… But as Advent people…Awaiting the Lord’s promised return…remaining free from time’s tyranny, ready to put all else aside to be prepared for that most important appointment – the Moment of His return


The moment of His return for each of us personally…when each of us as we close our eyes on this world…hopes to hear those words from the Lord spoken through the prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist in this Sunday’s readings…“Here is your God…Comfort, O comfort my people… Comfort my son…comfort my daughter…you have served your term, you have paid the price of your sins…You have prepared the way of the Lord, making straight every highway; you have brought low every obstacle and filled in every gap.”


We live in the hope that at that moment the glory of the Lord shall be revealed to us.


Living the Hope of Advent transcends all time.


Are we ready?