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1st Sunday of Advent – Homily

FOR SUNDAY DECEMBER 1
FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT
(Scripture Readings can be found here)

I was looking at a blog entitled “Shameless Popery” written by three priests from Kansas City (First Andy Reid brings them a winning football team, now they have three “men-in-black” bring them a winning Catholic blog. An unfair abundance of riches). One article was, “Five Ways to Defend the Faith Against Unexpected Attacks.” This presents an interesting take on “turning swords into plowshares” (The theme of one of today’s Scripture readings).

words have power
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Here are the five ideas that the “KC Fathers” have when facing someone who might be taking punches at the Catholic Church:    
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1. Change the Tone. Act in true charity. Discuss your differences openly, but in a spirit of authentic love. Not only will setting this tone make the whole conversation more bearable, but it’s a critical first step.
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2. Prepare, Pray, and Relax. We should be serious about learning our faith, especially the Scriptures, so that when confronted, we can give a defense. When we find ourselves in these situations, we should take the first opportunity to offer a quick, silent prayer to the Holy Spirit for His assistance.
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3. Keep the Big Guns Ready. The promises Christ made to the Church; Apostolic Succession; The necessity of the Magisterium; the relationship of the Church and Sacred Scripture. 
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4. Control the Terrain. They typically will choose  arguments that they think are the best proofs against the Church without giving us a chance to raise the best counter-arguments. Don’t let the other person jump from topic to topic as they please. Stay on topic. Use the “big guns.”  Say, “I’m giving you plenty of time to explain why you think that the Catholic Church is wrong on such-and-such an issue” or “Will you extend me the same courtesy to show why the Church is right?”
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5. Be Patient and Charitable. Bishop Sheen once said, “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing. We need to correct without being corrosive. 
thoughtful Pope Francis
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There are times where we seek out opportunities to evangelize for the faith. Sometimes, the opportunity comes to us. When this happens, it’s not always pleasant. Many people (including fallen-away Catholics) are getting their catechesis from the media and the internet (Not really the best of sources). Pope Francis seems to have opened the doors to holding new conversations with a new tone. As a result, LOTS of people now seems to want to talk to us about our faith, our experiences, our Church. Let’s keep the conversations going. 
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