First Sunday of Advent Year A
First reading Isaiah 2:1-5
Second reading Romans 13:11-14a
Gospel Matthew 24:37-44
Brethren, today we are starting a new season according to the liturgical calendar advent season. We notice a change inside our churches, the altar clothes are being changed into purple or violet. This season is a time of spiritual preparation in view of the Christmas celebrations. It reminds us of three things: the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ which happened more than 2000 years ago, his presence among us, and his second coming. The word advent comes from the Latin term adventus meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly the arrival of an important personality in the Roman Empire (king or military groups return from battles). On this first Sunday of Advent, the liturgical readings are inviting us to reflect on the theme: “Be watchful”.
Thus in the first reading prophet Isaiah drew the attention of his contemporaries to the establishment of the dwelling place of the Lord. This took place on mount Zion. God has chosen his dwelling place among his people. This is a sign that God is nearer to his nation, the people of Israel; but also to all nations “and all the nations shall flow to it”. Mount Zion is not a tourist place but on the contrary, a place to meet God himself. As his dwelling place, he will judge all nations without exception. In the later days, God will involve his Only Begotten Son in judgment. Jesus Christ is seen as a judge but also as an adviser. He has performed the role of the adviser in the day’s gospel by telling his disciples to be ready “for the Son the man is coming at the hour you do not expect”. He warns his disciples about his second coming “the eschatological coming” in which he himself does not know the angels except the Father however, this coming is imminent and affirmed just as on the day of Noah.
Saint Paul also talked about this in his letter to the Romans when he said “for the salvation is nearer to us now than you to wake from sleep”. In the second of today’s apostles, Paul is encouraging Romans to live wholeheartedly life means that they must follow Jesus’ footsteps in everything. By the time of saint Paul Romans were known for all kinds of notorious pleasures (drunkenness, debauchery and so) but these are contrary to the Christian faith.
On this first Sunday of Advent, I would like to emphasize how to be watchful as we are excepting Our Lord Jesus Christ. The first step is to be aware that the dwelling place of God is among us, the second step is to know that the coming of Jesus is near and the third and last step is how to live a wholehearted life.
- The dwelling place is among us: In the Ancient Near East, each deity has its dwelling place where its faithful worship. Our God, being more than a deity because he is the Supreme and the Almighty God through whom everything is created dwells everywhere. But for the purpose of being nearer to his nation Israel, he has enthroned himself on Mount Zion. Today, God dwells in each and every heart, therefore we must welcome him and dispose of ourselves in order to receive the graces and blessings from him. The true worship of God begins from the heart; therefore, we need to purify our hearts in order to find favor from him.
- The coming of Jesus is near: Dear friends, once we know that the dwelling place of God is our hearts, we will be able to accept the words of Jesus, the Good News that he came to announce. Out of love and compassion, Jesus alerts us about his second coming, we need therefore to get ready to welcome him. The advent season is a time of preparation and is ready to welcome Jesus into our hearts. Are you ready to welcome our Lord Jesus Christ into your life?
- Live wholehearted life: Brethren, those who acknowledge the presence of God in their lives and who get ready to welcome Jesus are those who live wholehearted life; in other words, these people live their daily life in accordance with the Scripture and to the precepts of the Lord. Today saint Paul is inviting us to leave the life of sin and embrace life in Jesus Christ.
May this first Sunday of advent help us to get ready as we wait for Jesus Christ during Christmas season. May we be able to celebrate the Christmas event with more of spiritual dimensions.