Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Advent Inspiration

People think it's
worthwhile making
that long, hard trek
into the wilderness.
Transcript of homily recorded on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Daily Advent Inspiration for Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 (Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent)

By Father Gilbert Cruz

In the parish that I come from, which is Sacred Heart in Altadena, always on Wednesdays, it's my turn to say the Spanish Mass. And whenever I have the Spanish Mass, the sermon is about a minute long. So I decided that wasn't going to work out here. So I am going to share with you the introduction that I wrote from last Sunday's Mass, but it is based on the Gospel that we just heard.

The Gospel tells us that they came in droves — wave upon wave of people streaming into the desert wasteland. But my question is simply this: What has to happen first in their lives that makes them even want to come and to seek out someone like the thorny baptist?

The answer is rather simple: There first has to be profound dissatisfaction with their personal life. Maybe they thought, for example, if I could just land this job or this relationship; if I could only own this or that; smoke a little bit of this; try a little bit of that, well, then, I would be ecstatically happy. But unfortunately, instead of fulfillment, what they found was only discontent, disillusionment, a feeling that something vital is missing. And so they experience in their lives this great disconnect.

Or maybe for others in that group, it was a feeling that there's no more purpose in what they're doing anymore. The passion, the pleasure, and the joy it once brought, isn't there any longer. It's like that old song that used to say, "The thrill is gone." And now in its place there is only that feeling that they're drying up and dying on the vine. They find that all that they are really doing, day in and day out, is going through the motions. For them it is the same old crap. The only thing different is the day, but nothing else has changed. And so they are jumping through the same hoops, but nothing's working in their lives anymore. In other words, they are doing everything right, but deep down inside, they know that something is terribly wrong.

You see, before you and I will ever even remotely consider going out to a holy man like John, there has to be so much restleness, pain, frustration, disappointment, dissatisfaction with our circumstances, that we come to a point where we finally say, "I am sick and tired of living this way. Life has become so intolerable, I cannot go on any longer. Something has to give, otherwise, I want out completely."

You and I well know if we have been there before, that that is an absolutely horrible feeling. And yet, the good news is that, from a spiritual standpoint, it is a great place to be because maybe now something different and better can happen, something can give way and make room for something else: a new beginning, a change, a chance at a second start, a second shot at living which we so desperately need and for which we long — and hopefully sooner rather than later. That's why people think that it's all worthwhile making that long, hard trek into the wilderness.

Father Gilbert Cruz is associate pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Altadena. Reach him at (626) 794-2046, Ext. 340.

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