Be Prepared!

November 29, 2015 | HNMWebmaster | Advent, Courage, Deacon Eddie, Discipleship, Eternal Life, Generosity, Homilies, Prayer, Self-Reflection, Service

1st Sunday of Advent
November 29, 2015 – Year C
Readings:  Jer 33:14-16 / Psalm 25 / 1 Thes 3:12 – 4:2 / Lk 21:25-28, 34-36
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

Happy New Year! Today is the first Sunday of Advent, so it is the First Sunday of the Church’s year. And Happy New Year… the world is ending! How about that Gospel to start off the season of Advent?

I’m lucky that I have been able to be involved with Boy Scouting for the past 11 years. It started when my son was in first grade and a friend of his invited him to come to a Cubs Scouts meeting and he stuck with it. He’s gone up through Cub Scouts and he’s now in Boy Scouts. Now when you think about Boy Scouts, you probably think about hiking and camping and being out in the woods. There’s a lot more to Boy Scouts than that. You see, you may not know this, but the Boy Scouts are bound by the Scout Oath and Law. As I look out here, I know there are a lot of current Boy Scouts and former Boy Scouts and Youth Leaders. I won’t make you stand, but I would invite you all
to join me in the Scout Oath:

“On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physical strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

And the Scout Law:

“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

For most of you, that’s probably the first time you’ve heard the Oath and the Law. But you have probably heard the Scout Motto. I think when people think of Boy Scouts, that’s one of the first things they think about. And it’s very simple. The Scout Motto is:

“Be prepared.”

It’s just 2 words.

I thought of the Boy Scouts as I was reflecting on this Gospel today. That’s a pretty scary Gospel, and if all of these things were happening it would probably be nice to have a few Boy Scouts at hand. The Boy Scouts learn survival skills. They learn first aid; they learn emergency preparedness; they’re quite useful in a pinch. But when Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting came up with the Scout Motto, he wasn’t just thinking about being prepared for an emergency. In his words, the Scout Motto means that “you should be prepared for life, to live happily and without regret, knowing that you have done your best.”

You see, when it comes down to it, the Motto is the purpose of scouting. The Oath and the Law are how you go about achieving that goal. This gives us something to think about as we start the Church’s new year on the first Sunday of Advent. “Be Prepared” should be our motto also – because Advent is a time of preparation and there’s a lot of preparing that goes on this time of year. Preparing for family; preparing for Christmas; preparing for celebrations, parties and festivities; preparing to commemorate the anniversary of the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But we’re also called to prepare ourselves for His Second Coming and that’s what our Gospel is referring to today.

As Christians, we also have our Oath and Law and it’s kind of combined together and it’s a whole lot easier to remember, but it’s quite a bit harder to live out. So, repeat after me:

“On my honor I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength”


“I will love my neighbor as myself.”

That’s our Oath and Law. And the purpose of the Oath and Law is to achieve the Motto, Be prepared. Simple, right? Yeah.

How do we go about this? How do we go about living out our Christian Oath and Law?
How do we remember to love God and how do we love our neighbor as ourself?
Let’s take the first part…love God. The first thing we need to remember as we reflect on these is that love from a Christian point of view is an action and not a feeling. We love by what we do. If we’re lucky, the feeling comes but it comes through action.

So to love God we first need to talk to him. We need to pray. We need to share our thoughts and our feelings. We need to share the good times and the bad because we have a tendency to only pray during the bad times. This Advent season is a time of joy. Let’s take that to God in time of prayer also. We love God by acting like we love him. Follow his commandments. Be trustworthy, loyal, cheerful and reverent. Spend time with him. Join him in the sacraments.

How do we love our neighbor? Sometimes that can be the harder part. I would suggest that the first step in loving your neighbor is to remember the second part of that and love yourself. Remember that God made you and everything that comes from God is good. Be friendly, be courteous and be kind. Help out in ministries. There are a lot of ministries in our local community and in our church. There’s the Shepherd’s Table and our Nursing Home Prayer Services, just to name two. Be charitable. We have the Jesse tree in the back and there are many other charitable opportunities this time of year. It’s quite easy to find them. And last, speak out about injustice. Speak out about injustice locally in our own community and in the greater world. If Jesus returned tomorrow, are you ready? Are you ready to stand before the Son of Man? I know I could probably do a little bit better. So I would invite you to join me this Advent season, this time of preparation, join me in getting our hearts and our minds and our souls prepared for His coming.