’s Mark Kurowski reflects onpreparing for the holidays/holy days?  What exactly are we doing? What does “Happy Holidays” have to do with anything? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent. Please read Luke 3:1-12.  #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #SecondComing #JohntheBaptist #BigInflatableLawnOrnaments #Ready

For, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 12/8/2013 The 2nd  Sunday of Advent.

 Please pause this audio and read Matthew 3:1-12.

          When you think of preparing for the holidays, what comes to mind? Making a list? Shopping? Getting the right clothes? Decorating the inside of the house? Hanging lights on the outside of the house? Cooking? Christmas Tree? Ornaments? Sending Cards? What? What do you think of when you think of getting ready for the holidays?

I was driving to the funeral home the other day to send a good friend of mine off to the Lord and in one front yard was a twenty foot tall inflatable snowman. Next to him was an inflatable Santa. I was running a few days before that and noticed that it took quite a bit of preparation to put up those inflatable lawn ornaments for something.

          Certainly, when you think of preparing for the holy days, repentance is not what first jumps out at you. In the age of “latest and greatest” and “electronic gadgets”, I think we need a weird, loud and zealous dude like John the Baptist more than ever. For what exactly are we preparing?

          It is clear in all of the Gospels that John was sent for the sole purpose of preparing us. He was sent to prepare us for that ‘great and terrible day of the Lord.’ He was sent to us so that we would be ready for the coming of God to earth, for the Messiah to reign. He was calling us to change our lives so that we could encounter the living God with an open heart and a rightly turned soul. John was NOT sent for us to admire him. He was NOT sent for us to follow him. He was NOT sent for us to do everything we can for a preparation that focuses largely on our own self-promotion: how large our lawn ornaments are, how many presents we get, how much people pay attention to our clothes, how big our party is, and so on.

          John, weird, loud, annoyingly zealous, comes out of the wild place called the wilderness dressed in strange clothing and eating weird food exactly so that we would reject the palaces we build for ourselves, the gorging of the food of the holy days and the way we adorn ourselves to be noticed. In fact, John calls us to turn away from ourselves, turn away from sin and walk in the direction of humility, generosity, compassion, and service to the poor, outcast and lowly among us.

          The one sent to prepare us to receive the Baby in the Manger or the King of Kings on clouds descending is the person we would NOT have had lunch with in high school, or even grade school, for that matter.

“Prepare the way of the Lord! Make his way straight! Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” is a far cry from “Happy Holidays,” “Seasons Greetings”, and “Have a nice day…” Prepare, Make and Repent is serious business. Think of the last time you lied. Think of the last time you cheated. Think of the last time you put yourself first before others. Think of how you didn’t keep your end of the bargain. Think of the last time you were prideful, arrogant, rude, and deliberately nasty. Think of the last time you said something hurtful or small to someone else. Think! Is this how you want the Christ to find you? Is this how you want the Lord of the Universe to find you? Is this how you want to present yourself to the King of Kings and Lord of lords, whether in a manger or at the Second Coming?

          I do not think so.

          Advent is not just about celebration. Advent is serious spiritual business. I refuse to allow Advent to be taken over by the Commercial Consumer Complex! Advent belongs to God. It is intended for us to prepare to receive the Lord. So, when we think of all the shopping we have to do, or the meals to prepare, or the lights and trees to hang, the question I have is when are we going to go to Confession? When are we going to read a spiritual book? When are we going to light an advent wreath at our dinner table and sing to the Lord before we eat? When are we going to make time to work in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen? When are we going to write to the people in prison or donate our clothing to the poor and needy? When are we going to invite the poor and needy into our lives and take responsibility for someone else?

          If not now, when? Now is the time. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the moment to break from the commercial consumer tradition and repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand! Amen? Amen.

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