Any Moment Now!


First Sunday Of Advent 2023

Deacon Tom Vert

Preached: December 3, 2023

“Any moment now!”

Those three words described my feelings many times in my life.

  • Just before my fiancé walked up the aisle at our wedding.
  • Both times minutes before my two daughters were born.
  • Minutes before a big family celebration dinner and the first guests were to arrive at the house.

Those moments of anticipation in life, are moments to cherish!  A mix of excitement, small worries, gladness, wonder and joy.

Today we start Advent, the season of joyful anticipation!  It is not like Lent, which is more somber and quieter, but instead it is a four-week journey to the greatest event in history…the birth of Jesus the Christ!

The readings today start this mood of anticipation, they light the first candle of waiting, watching, hoping, and praying for God to come into our lives again in a most special way.

In the first reading we see the Israelites in captivity in Babylon, lamenting their fate and the absence of God in their midst.

They cry to God for help knowing that they have wandered away from God and hope and anticipate that God will turn His face back to them like He has in the past with their ancestors.

We hear this tone of hope “turn back for the sake of your servants”, “Do not remember our sins, for we are your people”.

The psalm we have sung continues this theme “Restore us…let your face shine on us, that we may be saved”.

You can almost hear their voices, crying out, not helplessly, but with a hint of anticipation, a hint of knowing in their hearts how much God loves them and will come back to them, as he always does!

In the 2nd reading, we see a different tone, but the same eager expectation.  St. Paul knows the Corinthians have some infighting going on in their community, as people had God’s gifts, but they were not using them for the benefit of the community of faith.

Paul does not start by criticizing them, but instead starts with a message of thankfulness.  “Grace to the ones who are being sanctified, greetings to the saints and the peace of Christ to all of you!”

Do we not see in this, the same message that God gives to us…He doesn’t jump on us for our sins, but instead looks to our hearts and appreciates that we are yearning to be close to Him and do His will.

Paul gives this Advent message that the Corinthians and all of us, have God’s gifts, we have God’s strength available to us and we are to be partners with Christ to make the world a better place!

Paul is anticipating the good works, the actions of the Christian life that he knows will be happening.  As we heard last week, Paul knows that we will feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick and those in prison, and invite the stranger to a smile and a conversation.

We have the hopeful prayers, the thanksgiving for the gifts we have and the expectation for the good that will be done, which then leads us to the gospel message of Jesus.

The gospel is an answer to the question of Peter, James, John and Andrew – “when will these things take place?” “When will the end come, the trials and tribulations”?

And Jesus’ answer is not a date or time, but the key advice – keep alert and awake!!  Today could be the day!  Jesus is telling the four apostles and all of us, don’t wait for tomorrow, any moment now may be the time.

And this is so true!  I met a family friend last week at Limeridge Mall and asked him how he was doing.  And he said “Tom, I am glad to be alive!”  He went on to say that he had a heart attack three weeks ago playing hockey with his grandchildren and needed major bypass surgery.

This is the context of Christ’s message; we must be ready if today is the day!  And it is absolutely true, every day is precious, every day is a gift full of possibilities.

So how are we to prepare?  How are we to live?

Let’s prepare like we are getting ready for a huge family Christmas dinner at our house.

Let’s sweep up the dust bunnies of resentment and hurt for past actions and forgive others!

Let’s cook up a feast of kindness and love and joy to each person we see in the next four weeks, making each person feel special for interacting with us!

Let us decorate our church and our houses with peace, gentleness and kindness to all who come through our doors!

Let’s wrap and get all our gifts of teaching, service, and presence ready in order to put them at the service of our families, workplaces, community and our parish to make the world a better place!

Let us live in anticipation that today could be the last day; we are prepared with no regrets, and maybe try this week to wake up each morning thinking to be ready to help another with three key words “any moment now!”

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