Dancing to the Lord’s Advent Tune, Second Friday of Advent, December 11, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Damasus
December 11, 2015
Is 48, Ps 1, Mt 11:16-19


To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Advent involves a triple dynamism: the Lord comes, we go out to meet him, and then transformed by the encounter we continue to journey with him and finish together with him his mission.
  • When we go out to meet him, it’s key that we allow him to transform us. In the Gospel today, Jesus says that many of us don’t encounter him with that in mind. He describes his generation — and frankly every generation — like children in marketplaces “sitting,” in other words, not wanting to move. They’re playing different music and want everyone to respond to that music: if they play the flute, they want people to dance; if they play a dirge, they want people to mourn. The key is that they want to set the terms of the interaction. They want the others to move. That’s what Jesus was saying they were doing with God’s messenger and God himself. They criticized John the Baptist for his ascetical fasting and when Jesus wasn’t fasting because he the Bridegroom was showing us how to rejoice, they criticized him for drawing close in mercy to the hedonists like the tax collectors and other sinners, who were enjoying the things of this world in a disordered way. They failed to grasp that it’s we who should be dancing to the Lord’s music and not the other way around.
  • Often we try to play the music for our relationship with the Lord, too. We play soft, sentimental hits and want the Lord just to touch our emotions. Or we’ll play marches and want the Lord to boss everyone around like a drill sergeant. Or we’ll play horror movie music to try to “scare the hell” out of people. Or we’ll play heavy metal and drown out the Lord’s whisper. Or we won’t play any music at all, because we’re in a bad mood, or hate music, or can’t sing, or anything else. The point is that we need to attune ourselves to what the Lord is playing. We need to learn to sing with him a new song. Especially in this Jubilee of Mercy, we should be singing, “Misericordias tuas in aeternum cantabo!,” “I will sing of your mercies forever!” Is that what we’re singing? Is that how we’re dancing?
  • The Psalmist describes the type of fruit we’ll produce when we align ourselves to the Lord’s music, when we delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on his law day and night: we will be like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. When we listen to what the Lord teaches us for our own good and allow him to lead us on the way we should go, hearkening to his commandments, as Isaiah tells us, we will spiritually prosper like a river. But if we don’t, if we want to remain in control, the Psalmist tells us we will be like chaff, dead light matter with no holy solidity, blown away by our whims.
  • Today on this feast of St. Damasus, who danced according to the Lord’s tune and helped the Christians of the fourth centuries to dance as the martyrs did, to intercede for us to go out to meet the Lord who is coming and begin that dance with him that is meant to last into eternity.


The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 IS 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord will come; go out to meet him!
He is the prince of peace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”