Readings: Jer 33, 14-16; Ps25, 4-5ab.8-9.10.14; I Thess 3, 12-4,2; Lk 21,25-28.34-36
With the first Sunday of Advent we start a new liturgical year. The word of God for us today speaks of „comings“. Whereas there are many speculations about the second coming of Christ, we ought to remember that when it will be and what it will be like is not ours to know. What we are certain about is that history is going somewhere. There is a goal ahead of us where Jesus Christ will be Lord of all. Our task in the present time is to be on the watch.
Coming of the just one
Both the end and beginning of the Church year present to us the vision of world-shattering events. These drive us into spheres of the unknown and and in a way rob us of what is familiar and controllable. On the first Advent Sunday however, the Prophet Jeremiah gives us a peaceful interlude which predicts the coming of safety and security brought about by an „upright branch“ of the family of David. Jeremiah speaks a message of hope into our own time when we are experience so many uncertainties especially brought about by the covid-19 pandemic, the terror attacks that have given us a feeling of insecurity in own city, the sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities etc. It is also important to note that human survival has become very costly. Our researchers seem to be using an „apocalyptic language“ when they tell us that a mouse in the laboratory costs 8M-ugx!!! There is indeed a lot that shakes us. The good news is that we are awaiting one who will restore justice and right because he comes to establish the Kingdom of God in our midst. We are also invited to collaborate with Christ so that the gifts of justice and right that He is bringing may make all of us safe and secure. We are already doing something for justice. Yes, but we must do more. The time to restart is now.
Still greater and steadier progress is needed
Just like the community of Christians inThessalonica, we may have some achievements for which we can be commended and praised. Paul exhorts us to make greater progress in the faith we have recieved. We are invited to remember that as Christians we can never live in a settled sitaution. Our lives must be in a permanent state of expectation. I love the idea that we live in a shadow of eternity. Our decisions and actions will certainly determine how fit we are to stand in the presence of God who comes. The penetential character of Advent invites us to lead a life of conversion. A realistic look at our lives will tell us that it is not all well with us, in us and around us. We are invited to grow in our fidelity to the Gospel and in our knowledge of the word of God and in being people of justice and compassion. We have not yet arrived to the fullness of faith. Conversion means change. We need humility in order to embrace change. Advent is a chance to make a fresh start in changing our lives to Christ and His values. Identify what needs to be changed in your life, your community, your family, your country, your church and do something to see the change happen!
Stand up straight and raise your heads!
Many will prepare for Christmas as a time for families to come together, a time for merry-making. There will be some more shopping for a big feast. But then the Church seems to be preparing us for the end of the world. The terrifying images used in the Gospel speak about tribulation that will shake the powers of heaven (even those on earth). When the powers are shaken, then comes the Son of man with power and glory. God has an eternal plan which has to be fulfilled: Jeremiah reminded us: „Behold, the days are coming when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel.“ There will be a „babe“ in the mannger, yes, but let us not forget that He comes to launch the Kingdom of God. How many times does He need to do it? For any process of growth, there is something that must die in order to give room for something new. The old world order we are used to must die so that something new may be born out of the ruins (brokenness) of our life. The recognition that the world and all its powers is passing away motivates us not to spend our life in the wild pusuit of what will pass away on the great day of the Lord’s comming but to be watchful and alert so that our hearts may not be weighed down „with debauchery and drunkenness and cares of this life“. One of the best way to live a meaningful Advent season is prayer. Awake and in prayer we shall not fall into the traps of the enemy whose concern is only about momentary satisfaction of desires with no vision for the future. My wish for us all is that we take Advent not only as a preparation for Christmas but rather as a fresh start to enter the mystery of whatever is waiting to be born or reborn in or lives.