Sunday reading in Brief 1 Advent A
Is 2:1-5; Ps 121(122); Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44
Waiting and Preparing
Dear friends, today is the first Sunday of Advent and the first day of the new Liturgical Year A. we have just concluded the liturgical cycle of three years A, B, and C. The readings from both the Daily and the Sunday missal are those that we read in Advent of 2019. However, though they are the same, the message they convey to us today is very new. This is because the Word of the Lord is the oldest and the newest at the same time. It cuts across all generations inspiring, consoling, uplifting, teaching, warning, admonishing, and correcting the people. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mt 24:35).
Advent is the time of waiting and preparation for the coming of the Lord in our lives just as the people of Israel waited and prepared for the coming of the promised Messiah. The only difference is that while for the people of Israel the messiah had not yet come, for us he has already come. As the Church of Christ, we relieve every year the events of that first advent seeking to renew our spirits and amend our lives so that the Messiah could be reborn in our hearts on Christmas. We could compare both the Advent and the Lenten seasons with the routine service we give to machines and vehicles every now and then to keep them working well. Just as the car engine needs new lubricants, changing the worn-out parts and tightening the loose parts for the car to function well, our lives too get clogged with many things that prevent us from living according to the demands of our baptism.
In the first reading, prophet Isaiah saw a vision about the days when Jerusalem, the city of the chosen people that was numerously destroyed by external forces, will stand tall and all will go there looking for peace. In those days, the prophet says there will be neither war nor the need for weapons. Injustice, bad governance, and negative competition between neighbours cause tension and conflict. People look for weapons to fight or protect themselves from aggression. However, the message of Christ is that of love, tolerance, justice, and peace.
Advent season is also a time for personal recollection to weed out any bad manners that we may have gathered in the course of the year. St. Paul tells us that daylight has come hence we must abandon all the bad things that we have been doing in the cover of darkness. When God created us, he put in us the conscience that indicates to us when we are doing good and when we are doing evil. Just the way Adam and Eve hid from God because of sin, there are those things that we are afraid of doing during the daylight when people can see us. Those are the things that we need to abandon as we wait and prepare for the coming of our Saviour.
God has given human beings tremendous abilities to discover and transform things on earth to suit their liking. However, God has given no man the ability to know when the last day will be. In his wisdom, God has reserved the knowledge of the things to come to himself for the good of human beings. Were we to know our end or our fate, the world would be very chaotic.
There are things that all living beings do which cannot in any way tell our footing in front of God. Jesus tells us that even during the time of Noah, people were eating, drinking, marring, and getting married while ignoring the cries of Noah about the imminent floods. When the day of the flood came and swept them all, no one even noticed.
Today, many think that becoming prosperous in material things and positions on earth is a sign of blessings. Well, while this is part of God’s blessing to his people, it is not a sign that we are in God’s favor. People become wealthy and prosperous out of proceedings of corruption, theft, and injustice. Even people who consider themselves atheists, and the baptized who do not go to Church or worship eat, drink, marry, and get married, they have good harvests, their flock increase, etc. The correct measure of having God’s favour whether rich or poor is love, unity, and true peace that our Messiah brought on to us. We may be prosperous in material things but these cannot buy peace.
Dear friends, as we begin again liturgical cycle with the advent season, let us first look back and see what we have gathered from year C and be ready to learn more from this year A. let us also ask ourselves what our measure of true prosperity is.
Have a blessed Advent Season
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD