Deacon Greg is a remarkable homilist, having the ability to weave a topical event beautifully into his message and with effect.
Here's an excerpt of his homily for the second Sunday in Advent:
Honestly, I thought it must have been a joke.
When I saw the story online last Sunday, I didn’t quite believe it. Many of you probably saw it, too: it’s Amazon.com’s proposed new delivery system. The idea is to use small, unmanned airplanes—drones!—to pick up packages at a warehouse and deliver them to your door, in 30 minutes or less.
No one has explained yet exactly how this project would work—how thousands of these would be able to hover over cities without crashing in to one another, defying wind and rain and skyscrapers. And I imagine, if they can get it to work, this kind of convenience will not come cheap. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, conceded that it will take a few years to realize his vision. They have to work out the details and get federal approval. But he seemed serious about it. I have to think, if he doesn’t pull it off, someone else probably will.
Aside from the audacity and daring of the idea, I think the Amazon proposal says much about who we are and what we have become.
We are people in a hurry. We are people who are saying, insistently: Give it to me. Now.
Once, overnight delivery was more than enough. Then we wanted same day delivery. Now, we want everything in 30 minutes—whether it’s a pizza or a paperback. We want our food fast, our dinner microwaved. We can’t wait to get to a phone or a computer—and wedon’t, because the phone and the computer are with us, every second, of every day, in our hand or in our pocket. Remember when we used telephones in phone booths? Remember when computers were confined to big boxes on desks in our offices?
What did we do before we had tiny smartphone screens to check every 10 minutes?
In 2013, we just don’t want to wait. For anything. Ever.
But in the middle of this, for four short weeks, we do.
The Church presses the “pause” button.
In the middle of all the hurrying and impatience and insistence comes…Advent.
We find ourselves suddenly in a state of suspended animation. It’s the season of expectation. Of longing.
A child is coming, a hope is dawning. In our liturgies and in our lives, we yearn for something we cannot quite name. We pray for deliverance. We cry out to God, “O come, Emmanuel! Ransom us! When will we be freed?”
Like prisoners in a cell, we mark the days.
We light candles, one at a time, week by week, to slowly bring forth light.
We fold open the cardboard windows of the Advent calendar, day by day, one day at a time, for 25 days.
This is Advent. It is the season when we wait—but also when we have work to do.
“Stay awake,” Jesus told us in the gospel last week.
“Repent,” John the Baptist says today. “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Make the crooked path straight.
If you ask a child what we are waiting for, they’ll tell you in one word: “Christmas.” It’s that simple.
For a child, of course, it can’t come fast enough. For the rest of us, we’d probably like more time—a few more weeks to plan, shop, wrap and ship. But the reality of Advent—the astonishing truth at its center—plunges us into something deeper. The question demands an answer.
Finish with the good Deacon at his place. It's well worth the effort.