Homily (Reflection) for the First Sunday of Advent (C) (02nd December, 2018) on the Gospel and the SeasonJer 33:14-16;
Ps 24:4-5.8-9.10.14 (R.V. 1);
Today is both the New Year day and the First Sunday of the Year according to the Church’s calendar known as the Liturgical year or calendar. Liturgical year is divided into seasons. These seasons include Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary time of the year. They (the seasons) are set aside to celebrate various events in Jesus’ life.
The Liturgical year begins with the Evening Prayer I of the First Sunday of Advent which is the evening prayer of the Saturday preceding the First Sunday of Advent and ends on Saturday of the 34th week of the Ordinary Time. The development of the Liturgical year was a complex one involving many traditions and cultures. The Liturgical year is all about the story of our salvation. It guides us as we journey from this valley of tears to the eternal Kingdom.
The word Advent is from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival, approach, or coming. Generally, the First Sunday of Advent falls between November 27 and December 3 whereas the Fourth Sunday of Advent falls between 18th and 24th December. The season of Advent consists of four (4) Sundays but not necessarily four weeks. During the season of Advent, the liturgical colour is violet or purple with the exception of Third Sunday of Advent called Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday when rose or pink vestment can be used. Gloria is not said during Mass. The season of Advent is divided into two – from the Evening Prayer I of the First Sunday of Advent to 16th December and from 17th December to 24th December. Advent is sometimes called the little Lent because in most Eastern Orthodox and other Eastern Christian Churches, it is also a time of fasting known as the Nativity or Advent Fast which lasts for forty days.
Topic: Preparation for Christ.
The season of Advent is a time of preparation for Christ. And people do prepare in different ways according to their interests. For instance, in some parts of the world this period is the worst for shopping. I still remember vividly my experience in a market. When I realized that the money I had could not pay for all I needed, I decided to leave some for another day. But when I made my intention known to the seller, he looked at me intently with eyes filled with surprises. But behind those eyes I managed to see an ocean of pity. And after a while he said to me: “Father, the earlier you are ready for the ones you are not buying today the better for you”. I was still standing thinking what could inform the statement when he went on, “Remember that this is the ending of November. By the beginning of December the prices of things will begin to go up rapidly”. I plead you do not ask me whether producers spend more producing during Christmas as well as what I did next because I really needed those things. Again, very soon the queue of those who would want to go for confession will also elongate. Examples of how people prepare for Christmas abound but let us limit ourselves to just two.
Sometimes, one wonders whether the Christ we prepare for is still the one who is, who was, and who is to come, cf. Rev 1:4, 8. Christ is with us. Hence, He said before ascending to heaven: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matt 28:20; Acts 18:10). He is also with us in the seven sacraments but especially in the Holy Eucharist, cf. Matt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24. We also read: “... the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mk 16:19). And truly, Christ is to come for He said also: “... when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:3; cf. Rev 1:7). And Acts of the Apostles read: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
We must bear in mind this Advent and always that He is, He was, and He is to come. Hence His admonition in today’s gospel:
Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth (Lk 21:34-35).
Dear friends, we ought to be prepared always because He is, He was, and He is to come and He will punish all those who are circumcised but yet uncircumcised, that is Christians who are not really Christians, cf. Jer 9:25. There is need to be alert at all times, praying for the strength to withstand every trial that might come our way and be able to stand before the Son of Man, cf. Lk 21:36.
Bible Readings: Jer 9:23-26; Jn 5:19-29; 1Jn 4:7-21; Rom 6:1-14; Rev 1:4-8.
Silent Prayer: How prepared are you for Christ?
Let us pray: God our Father, thank you for the gift of your only Son for our ransom. Help us to live lives worthy of salvation – Amen (cf. 1Jn 4:9; Rom 6:13).
You are free to share this reflection with others if you consider it worthy.
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