Today in my homily at the Cathedral, I started out like this:
"Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other!" (Is 45:21) Today, as we celebrate the memorial of St. John of the Cross, the great Carmelite reformer, we note that we are two-thirds of the way through Advent. Have we done as we are called to do in this season of preparation for Christ's coming - His coming to us in our hearts, and His coming in Bethlehem in the Incarnation, and His final coming to judge the living and the dead? Have we in fact turned back to God?
I'll answer for myself, and I think most of you would agree with this answer: "Yes, but..." Yes, we love God; that's why we're here for this Mass. But, I am weak; I am easily distracted; I am subject to temptation. I know well my own failings.
But this is the great joy of the Incarnation, which has changed everything, always and everywhere: Turning to God is not something we do only once. Just as He comes to us again and again in His Church, so we can turn back to Him again and again. He always remains faithful. He longs for our conversion with a patience as great as His infinite love.
I said just a little more about using well what remains of Advent, which to be honest I can't remember very clearly. I ended with the same quote from the first reading I started on. I had intended to add another line to that quote ("Only in the LORD are just deeds and power"), and then say finish on something like "Jesus, we trust in you," but when I looked down at the lectionary, I couldn't find it. It wasn't in my head, it wasn't on the page; so I simply stopped right there.
One of the parishioners told me after Mass he thought I was going to say something else when I ended my homily. We shared a chuckle when I explained how I lost my place on the page.
St. John of the Cross, prayer for us!