Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - "In the meantime"
Remember the old jazz song - "In the meantime, in between times, aint we got fun!" It was popular in those years following World War 1, including the Depression and Prohibition Years in the US, when people were experiencing hard times. Entertainers sought to lift peoples' spirits with light-hearted music and the movies. The season of Advent seeks to do the same thing for Christians. Society appears to be going through a major shift, and we need to be reminded that the hope inspired by Christ is still a valid hope. "The Lord will return...." but when? "In the meantime" we set ourselves to prepare for that time.

Jeremiah 33:14-16 unfolds a vision of hope for the Israelite people that the time would come when security and peace would be enjoyed by all. The return from exile marked new beginnings for better times.

Paul, 1 Thess. 3:12-4:2 comes to us in two parts. firstly there is thanksgiving for the past, and, secondly, a challenge to be generous in the future. It is necessary to look to the Lord Jesus for constant support.

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 is a reminder given by Jesus in dramatic language that the end of time will come and will be marked by His second coming. No time frame is given. We need to live in such a way so as to be prepared.

Point 1: To understand more clearly the apocalyptic statements recorded in the Scriptures, we need to understand that the descriptions we have are compressed accounts given by the Evangelists of thoughts expressed by Christ on different occasions. At times He was speaking of the cosmic end of time; at other times, he was speaking of the imminent destruction of the city of Jerusalem signalling an end of a culture, and for this a specific time was given; and, at other times, He was making the point that each individual will die and will experience judgement. Here, as with the cosmic end, no time is mentioned; simply a warning to be ready.

Point 2: At the heart of Jesus' teaching is the constant appeal for renewal. "To repent" - "to turn back". This renewal did not relate to obliterating social or political systems to replace them with new orders. Rather, Christ's renewal would be achieved as individuals took on new attitudes resulting in a new style of human relationships. Where accepted, such renewal would be capable of bringing about a new age; an age in which individuals learned to respect each other and the environment for the sake of God, and society would benefit.

Conclusion: Throughout the Liturgical Year - today marks the beginning of a new liturgical year, Advent, - the Church continues to repeat Christ's unending appeal for renewal in our attitudes.  We upgrade our material attitudes - new homes are bought, or, at least, old ones are restored; old cars are replaced; in some areas of society it would seem that the stage has been reached in which old wives or husbands are replaced; medicine is well on the way to establishing a 'spare parts' department for the human body. Spiritual renewal is equally important. Old bad habits need to be replaced and new ones acquired. We draw upon the great events of Christian history to inspire and to motivate us to make the effort required to bring about the necessary renewal in our attitudes. We know that the events we recall were only the beginning of a larger story; there is still a longer journey to make. Only God knows where and when this journey will end. For our part, we need to watch and wait, living a quality of life that will see us ready whenever the end comes. The Christian whose life in this "in the meantime" is marked by a constant desire for renewal will eventually "stand with confidence before the Son of Man".

Scriptural reference:  Yet to those who repent he grants a return, and he encourages those who are losing hope. [Sira 17:24]