2nd Sunday of Advent 2019
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: December 8, 2019
What are you taking for granted? Is there anything or anyone that you are taking for granted right now? We just saw John the Baptist in the wilderness calling for repentance, to prepare the way, baptizing people in the Jordan River as they were confessing their sins.
As he is there it says that some Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to be baptized. He speaks very hard words to them. He knows that they had no intention of truly repenting or changing. They saw themselves as members of the chosen people of God, and so presumed themselves to be special to God. John says to them, “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’” John was warning them not to take for granted their relationship with God.
As we go through this Advent Season, it would a good examination of conscience to review what we might be taking for granted at this time.
Some of us might take for granted the very gift of our life. The mystery that we are alive, feeling, thinking, loving. Life itself is an incredible mystery, do we take it for granted? Is there gratitude and wonder in my heart for the gift of life?
For those who are married, do you ever take for granted your spouse? After a while it must be easy to take your husband or wife for granted. When is the last time you have shown some small act of gratitude or appreciation? When is the last time you have prayed for your spouse?
Parents and Grandparents might review if you take for granted your children or grandchildren. They can be challenging at times, but do you in your heart give thanks for the gift of your children or grandchildren? Do you pray for them?
All of us as children, do we take for granted our parents?
Each of us can look over our lives and reflect on who it is that I am taking for granted at this time.
For myself, I reflected on how I might take for granted the Priesthood. I have now been a priest for 29 years. It is easy to take for granted some of the mysteries of this vocation. When I am celebrating the Eucharist, the incredible mystery of presiding at the Mass.
There is a saying that is up in some sacristies where priests are preparing for Mass that says: “O Priest of God, Say this Mass as though it is your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” What if you knew that today would be the last time you were coming to celebrate this Eucharist? How would you focus and be attentive at this Mass?
When I am called to be with a parishioner who is dying, I need to remind myself of the privilege of being with someone at the time of their death, to anoint them and be with them at this important moment.
As a priest it is possible to take for granted my relationship with Jesus just like the Pharisees and Scribes in today’s Gospel. I can imagine John the Baptist saying to me, “do not presume to say to yourself, I am a priest of Jesus Christ.”
For all of us who are Catholics, do we take for granted our faith? Are we like the pharisees in today’s Gospel? Do we need to hear John the Baptist saying to us, “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘I am a Christian.’”
If we think, I am baptized, I go to church each Sunday,… Do we take for granted our relationship with Jesus, do we take for granted our faith? Our faith is a gift, we need to nurture and care for our faith.
In the past many would offer a Prayer for Perseverance. To persevere in faith till our death. Our faith should be like a precious jewel. We do not just leave it around carelessly. We care for it, we protect it. We need to watch that we do not take for granted our faith, care for it, protect it, nurture it.
During this season of Advent, we all need to hear John the Baptist calling out to our hearts. Repent, prepare the way of the Lord. We need to watch that we are not taking anything or anyone for granted. That includes not taking for granted our faith, our relationship with the Living God.