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String of Hope

Stay awake and be constantly on the watch because you do not know when the appointed time will come.
Isaiah 63:16-17,19,64:2-7; Psalm 80:2-3,15-16,18-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37

Sermon Week First Sunday of Advent Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mk.13:33

A California religious newspaper (The "Son" Sentinel), published an article which contrasted the living habits of two kinds of birds that fly over the California desert: the vulture and the hummingbird...

All the vulture can see is rotting meat because that is all it looks for. It thrives on that diet. But the hummingbird ignores the carcasses and the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, it looks for the tiny blossoms of the cactus flowers. It buzzes around until it finds the colorful blooms, almost hidden from view by the rocks. Each bird finds what it's looking for.

What are we looking for? Better still, what are we finding? And what we are finding tells us what we are looking for in Life. Our expectations of Life will determine, ultimately, our realization of Life.

Hard to believe, but it will soon be January, the month named for the mythical Roman god Janus, the god of doorways -- of beginnings. Janus was represented as having one head with two bearded faces back-to-back, looking in opposite directions at the same time.

As the calendar rapidly advances through the end of one year to the beginning of another, it is good to look backward and forward simultaneously -- to evaluate the past and anticipate the future. But let's not spend too much time with the backward look because God is far more interested in where we are going than where we have been.

God looks back to where we were, affirming grace and forgiving sin -- but God looks mostly ahead to where we will be. To the people we will be, to the objectives we will accomplish, to how we will bless others.

The Advent Season of expectation, which begins today, is that time of year when we are invited to look ahead; to dream dreams about the future -- the long-range future -- of God's creative order; to plan for the part we must play in the building of God's Kingdom. Each of us has the responsibility and the power to make real the presence of God in history and the lives of others. In [...]

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