1st/2nd December 2018

posted 10 Dec 2018, 02:05 by Parish Office

Homily for the First Sunday of Advent, Year C (1 & 2/12/18)


Some of you may have seen the films The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that were produced over the past ten years or so.  There has been speculation about whether they are going to dramatise the last two books, The Silver Chair and The Last BattleThe Last Battle was highly acclaimed when it was first written, and as a result, C S Lewis won an award.  If you haven’t read it, I don’t want to spoil the storyline for you.  I only read it earlier this year for the first time, and as an adult, I was impressed with the different plots and ideas that C S Lewis wove into the storyline.


One of the many Biblical themes that he puts into it is the idea of the final judgement at the end of the world.  It’s quite profound in that it’s not just the end of Narnia, but the whole universe, including planet Earth.  In the prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician’s Nephew, the professor is a young boy, and he gets to see Aslan creating the world of Narnia.  It’s a very beautiful scene, in which Aslan “sings” the new world into existence.  In The Last Battle, this beautiful world comes to an end.  But that is not the end, because all those who have been faithful followers of Aslan are rewarded with a new world, even better than what they had before.  But not everyone makes it, though.  There are those who pass by on Aslan’s left into darkness and are never seen again.  But those who loved Aslan are rewarded for their faithfulness.  I don’t want to spoil the book, and in fact there is a lot that happens before this, as this is towards the end.  Perhaps, for those of you with young children who love reading, a box set of the seven Narnia books might make a good Christmas present.  And if you’re curious, you might also want to read the books too.  I presume that most of you realise that Aslan is based on Christ, who will return at the end of the world to judge the living and the dead.


Back in 1990, the Catholic funeral rite in England and Wales was revised.  But the then Archbishop of Birmingham, Maurice Couve de Murville, chose to retain two prayers from the previous funeral rite.  One of them has this line:


“Give us grace to prepare for that last hour by a good life, / that we may not be surprised by a sudden and unprovided death, / but be ever watching / that when you call / we may enter into eternal glory”


Sometimes, people think that certain things in the Bible, such as the idea that we will be judged on how we have lived out lives, are there to scare us, but they’re not – it’s all part of the message that there is still time to change our ways.  As we approach Christmas, one of the well-known stories on our TV screens is that of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, in its various adaptations.  The whole point about it is, that although Scrooge begins as something of a mean man, he is shown his past, how things will be the this Christmas, and how things will end up if he doesn’t change.  So he does change, and in the 1970s film Scrooge, they all get to sing “Thank you very much, it’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me” as he rips up all their debts.


For ourselves, there may be debts that we have run up over the year.  As well as any financial ones, there are also the debts of our sins.  We can choose to take the risk and see what the balance is when we die, or we can go to confession now as we begin to get ready for Christmas.  Truly, I think that the bigger our sins, the greater the relief when they are forgiven. 


When will our final moment come?  When will Christ return in glory?  We don’t know.  But we do know that we can choose from this very moment now, how the present will be from now onwards.  We can go to confession, make amends, and then our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas will truly be something to celebrate.