FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT!!! The last few days of this season of "waiting" for Christmas. Here's my homily for today - the readings can be found at http://www.usccb.org/nab/122108.shtml - Thanks for reading!
The word "Home" brings up many images, remembrances, emotions. Maybe Home represents a country – Ireland, Italy, the Phillippines – Maybe Home means a group of people that were and still are close to you, Grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters or other relatives. In college Home represented an escape from the trauma of exams. For some Home is a place of nurture to restore themselves to go back into a sometimes challenging and difficult world. There are songs galore about "Homes."
In this season we hear the moving "I'll be home for Christmas" or "There's no place like Home for the Holidays", two very emotional songs for many people who miss relatives or friends. Billy Joel some years ago wrote a song called "You are my Home" in which he says to his wife of all the places that they as transients on the road experience, he realizes that : "Home is just another word for you."
The idea of a Home is, something close to each of our hearts – it's more profound than simply a house in which we live. A house can be destroyed through a fire or flood. It can be lost due to a financial disaster. People sell houses– yet, that concept of Home cannot so easily be destroyed, erased.
We hear today in the readings how this developed. David in the first reading has this desire to build a house for the Lord – he's feeling some guilt over the fact that he is living in a beautiful palace and the Lord has only a tent to dwell. David wants to build – And God in a way rebuffs this nice gesture saying to him "David, I have been the one caring for you all along. I've been with you through thick and thin, I will continue to be with you through good times and bad for you are my Chosen people, You are my home..."
In Mary, God chooses to continue this notion of people creating a Home. Just as God dwelled with the Jewish people in meek and humble means in the first reading, God will dwell in the heart of a meek and humble woman. Through this miraculous virgin conception, God would no longer dwell in a tent – God would enter into humanity. And as Jesus hung on the cross and said "there is your Mother" he told us how he had tied himself so intimately to humanity, so much so that as beautiful as this Church is, the Basilica in Newark and the Basilica in Rome is, they are made from elements that can be wiped out in an instant. The beauty of these churches don't erase the fact that they are merely "houses" of God, it is each of us as disciples who come and receive the Lord in word and body and blood in our hearts who truly make up God's home. This last week of Advent, as we make our houses ready for guests, holiday dinners, let us make an effort to truly prepare our homes for Christ to enter in once again.