Advent: Mark 13:33-37, First Sunday of Advent

indexI could be making a million dollars a years.  Instead I’m here with you today.  All the money I could be making from my television show, books and DVDs to ease me easily into retirement.

And it’d be all based on fear.  I would scare you into submission in the name of the Lord.  I would raise my voice at the right times, slow my tempo to let it sink into your heart and also yell when I thought I’ve lost you.  I’d quote selected bible passages using a teleprompter since I’m a good Catholic and can’t quote scripture.  I’d tell you about the gospel about “being alert,” “you do not know when the lord of the house is coming,” and “may he not…find you sleeping.”  I’d have your attention because I would make you scared of yourself and of God’s surprising, unannounced visit.

It works for the government, we needed to invade Iraq for our country’s security and we know how that turned out.  I’d stand up here in my $1,000.00 suit and fancy car outside all paid for from your unknowing the time of Jesus’ return and the wrath that will follow it.  Fear.  I can’t miss and you cannot win.

Well, I don’t have the fancy suit but I do have the nice car and I offer you this season of Advent.  Advent is a four week preparation preparing us with what we end up with faithfully every year.   It’s preparation for… who-knows-what?  Will this Christmas be any different than the last one?  Will we slowly become someone else in four weeks time?  During these four weeks we are asked to be attentive, a little more sensitive, a few less naps (just in case the big guy decides to descend upon us), and act like people in waiting.

Gee, I wonder what Advent reminds me of?  Oh, I got it.  Life!  Life is being attentive, sensitive, less naps and people lying in wait.  Short lives or long ones, Advent is a big waiting game.  I see these guys on TV and laugh to myself because fear is such a simple sell.  Anyone and any group can promote fear and scare you into their silly agenda.

Today we put out the single cow to indicate the beginning of Advent.  The other Nativity characters will appear as the four weeks progress because that’s the way life unfolds for us.  One day and one week at a time.

In the fable “Jake and Beanstalk,” Jack needs to sell what?  Like a biblical parable full of metaphors, in the fable the cow is a metaphor for “mother.”  Jack needs to sell mother, giver of meat and necessary milk for magic beans.  Magic beans that are then transformed through his life into what he becomes and who he is be.

We bargain with life when the mother’s work is complete.  We need to find our own wits in order to outwit what perils lay before us.  Advent is about waiting and during this wait is encounters, episodes, situation comedies, tragic love stories, romantic escapades and a list of unlimited experiences.  It is Advent, it is life.

I don’t make a million dollars a year but each day I feel like a million bucks in my encounters, experiences and in life itself.  I don’t need TV’s fear mongers.  Each Advent day, I mean everyday of life, I need God’s mercy, God’s palm and somebody to buy this cow I need to sell.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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