Homily ·Advent
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
December 15, 2017

My brothers and sisters in Christ,1

As I was saying, it’s always a special joy to gather for this beautiful celebration of the Simbang Gabi Mass.

It is a special way to start our novena to the celebration of Christmas — the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day.

I guess this year is the fifteenth anniversary of the Mass, so as we say, it’s the quinceañera, so it’s special, very special.

So, let us especially ask for the grace that it will be a new beginning in our preparation for Christmas and in our Christian life.

So it is a wonderful time for us accompany the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph as they make their way to Bethlehem and the coming of Jesus.

I pray that these coming days will be a beautiful time for your families to draw closer and to renew your love for one another in Jesus Christ.

This is what this Advent season is all about. God is near! He comes to be — light for our life. A light for our world.

The Gospel today reminds us that even though God is always in our lives — sometimes we do not recognize him. We are always moving, always busy, always doing something.

We are surrounded by distractions, so many of them — media, entertainment, internet and the normal business of our lives, family, work, friends.

So that’s what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel today.

To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
“We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.”

Jesus says the people, sometimes, were like children playing games. I think it’s nothing bad for children to play games but what Jesus is talking about is when we, adults, get distracted.

And then, the consequence of that is that it is difficult for us to see God’s love and presence in our lives.

It’s difficult for us to give more time and importance to the things of God. The point is, then, that it is a moment for us as we come to this celebration of Christmas, to reflect on how God is always coming — he’s always near to each one of us.

So, we need to train our eyes and our ears — so we can see him working in our lives, so we can hear him speaking to us in our daily realities.

It’s not that God is going to speak to us in a spectacular way — an angel is going to come and start talking to us. God speaks to us in the ordinary things of our daily lives.

The challenge that we have is that we need to listen to him. And pay attention to what it is that God is asking us to do.

So what we need, my dear brothers and sisters, is that strong desire to know God. Strong desire to grow close to him. Because that is what God wants for us. This is our life, this is the purpose of this journey that we call life.

To find God. To find Jesus.

So, this year, once again, let us make that — to find Jesus — the goal for this Simbang Gabi.

We can make a new effort, each one of these nine days — to slow down a little in our lives; to turn down the volume a little; to take some time and make some room in our lives just to be quiet with God.

The saints talk about the “practice” of the presence of God. And it does take practice.

We need to find little ways, every day, to try to remind ourselves of God’s presence. Maybe keeping a little cross at our desk or a little picture of Our Lord or our Blessed Mother.

The early Christians used to say throughout the day, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Maybe you can do that several times every day: Come, Lord Jesus.

Practical things that we can do these nine days as we prepare for Christmas. Maybe these two simple little prayers.

In our own words, just as we talk to God and listen to him — just telling him: “Lord, I know that you are close to me. I know that, in your love, you come to walk with me.”

This will keep us always in the presence of God. And then maybe this other prayer: “Lord, show me the way to go. Teach me what is good for me.”

In that way, these nine days will be very special and Christmas will be just beautiful — really a merry Christmas.

Cause God is passing once again. God is with us. God is here. We need to be looking for him. God comes day by day and moment by moment. If we really watch, we can see that in every moment of our lives God is present, and we can see those signs of God’s love and presence.

So today, let us especially ask the intercession of the saints to help us — Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod.

I pray that these coming days will be a beautiful time for your families to draw closer and to renew your love for one another in Jesus Christ.

And lets keep in mind these nine days, especially, our brothers and sisters who are still suffering from the effects of the wildfires.

We also pray for the firefighters and the first responders, especially asking the intercession of Mary Our Blessed Mother that the firefighters can control the fires and that the people can go back to their ordinary lives.

And let us ask Mary our Blessed Mother, what I try to do every year, as probably you all do, is try to accompany Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. So let’s ask them, let’s ask Mary, to help us to more attentive to the fact that Jesus is coming, to the presence of God.

Let’s ask St. Joseph, what’s good for listening, because God talked to him always in his dreams. So, he was good for listening. So maybe in that way we can prepare ourselves and open the doors of our hearts that we might enter into that encounter with Jesus. Always new, always growing in our friendship with Jesus.

1. Readings (Friday, Second Week of Advent): Isa. 48:17-19; Matt. 11:16-19.

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