Homily – 4th Sunday of Advent

When I was teaching at St John’s University, I was always struck by the generosity of many of the students who would volunteer countless hours doing one of two things either working for Habitat for Humanity.

So literally building houses for people or volunteering to do what’s called the midnight run, namely from about 10 to 2 in the morning. They’re literally on the streets in areas where the homeless are giving out blankets, pillows, food, coffee, counseling was available and it was all volunteer and they would spend countless hours volunteering their time. And so into days, first reading, the Prophet is asked to ask a David, will you build a house for me?

And literally these young men and women would say, Yes, we will gladly build a house for you. God will go out and do it. Right now. And so on. This fourth Sunday of Advent, we likewise are being asked the question, are we willing to build a house for God now? Am I literally asking us to go out and build a house?

No, but we can do something very interesting this year. If you look over to the right side of the church, you’ll notice that there’s a special shrine for the Nativity. We wait and we prepare for the birth of the Lord. And at the Shrine there are two chairs and a Neela, an invitation to come to the manger and build a house for the Lord here at St Charles in prayer to pray that we, as a community of faith here in our parish church might become a truly welcoming community who welcomes all into our midst in the name of Christ Jesus, who welcomed everyone in.

That’s one very real way. This Advent Christmas, we can help build a home for the child. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, who were without a home when they came to Bethlehem, building a home in prayer. And there’s a second way that we here at Saint Charles can build literally a home for the Lord. In a little while we are going to take bread and wine and put it on the altar.

That bread and wine, through the prayer of the church will become for us the body and blood of Christ presence. We are going to form a procession and receive the Eucharist, take literally the body of Christ into our bodies. But at the end of mass, we’re going to here go the mass is over. What does that really mean?

Get out there. Get out into the world and in the world proclaim the Gospel. It is the gospel that invites each and every one of us to build a home for Christ Jesus in the world. Second place that quite literally, we can build a home for the Lord. This advent by proclaiming Christ Jesus to a waiting world who desperately wants to know this message.

There is yet a third way we can build a home for Jesus. We have the blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, on the high altar, and there the Lord resides for us 24 hours a day. God present among us, and at the Eucharist we receive the body and blood of Christ. In prayer, we become the house of God in our hearts when we enthroned Christ Jesus in our hands at the Eucharist, bring the Lord into our very bodies.

Our hearts become tabernacles a home for the Lord. And then we are invited back into the world as Tabernacles to build a house for God by being a community of faith here at Saint Charles, a house of God. When the Lord asks, David, will you build a home for me? Literally, we are being asked every day to build a home for God, for Christ Jesus, to dwell in the Holy Spirit.

We in our community of faith, in our world and in our hearts, welcome Jesus as we wait and prepare for the birth of the Messiah. And so we only have about four and a half more hours to wait and prepare for the Lord. The Lord is coming. When He arrives, will he find a home in our hearts, in our community, in our world? Because that today is the request of God to us. Build a home for me.