November 29, 2020: Homily- First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is a time for Christians to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Actually we remember three  comings of the Lord. First, we celebrate something that happened in the past, namely, the birth of the Messiah into the world which took place more than 2000 years ago. Second, we prepare for something that will happen in the future, namely, the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time (to judge the living and the dead). And third, we celebrate something that happens in the present, namely, the many moments of grace which are occasions for the Lord to come into the lives of Christians, into our souls as individual believers and in our midst as the community of the people of God.

The First Sunday of Advent directs us  towards the necessity of waiting faithfully for  the second coming of our Lord. When our Lord will return, what does the Lord expect from us and are we ready to meet Him? Are we ready to welcome Him into our hearts and be our guest for the rest of our lives? The Lord Jesus told  a story in the gospel that is, for laborers to be ready for action and ready to give their best when the master returned from his journey. Were these servants excited or anxious about their master’s return? The watchful servants looked forward to the future because they knew their master would be pleased and would reward them for their vigilance and hard work.

The truth is, Jesus entrusts us with His gifts and grace and He expects us to be ready for action and prepared for the future. Our call is not only to believe but to watch; not only to love but to watch; not only to obey but to watch! What are we to watch for? The greatest event to come is the second coming of Jesus at the end of time. But the kind of watching our Lord mean is not a passive or “wait and see what happens” approach to life. The Lord urges us to be vigilant and to be active in prayer.

Advent gives us a vision of our lives as Christians.  Advent shows us the possibilities of life.

Life is a continuous journey through time.  A journey in cycles, like waves of the ocean, tides high and low and high again, on and on. One could never survive on highs or lows alone.  These cycles are seen in all aspects of life. Yes, even religious experiences and our faith, we find it a constant change and struggle.

Despite all suffering  and violence, anxiety and fear in our society there is still hope beyond all these situations as we put our trust in the Lord.  The reality between darkness and light, deceit and truth, material things and God are our struggle today. Let us always remember “Christ-become-human” to deliver and set us free from worldly human weakness.  We hope for the future he promised, that perfect and complete community, humanity enfolded in God’s love.

The only challenge for us is, we should live in the living presence of Jesus every day. Christ’s living presence can be experienced in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in our worshiping community in our parish, in our family, in our own souls and in everyone around us.

We who ‘wait’ for the coming of the Lord will not be disappointed. He will surely come with His grace and saving help.

As we enter the church’s New Year, let us pause and ponder where our life is heading to. Are we making any spiritual progress? Or making a change for the better or for the worse?

May God bless us and keep us ever prepared for his coming

Father Bernie

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