1st Sunday of Advent, Year A

Awake for a new Adventure with God

Readings: Is 2, 1-5; Ps 122, 1-9; Rom 13, 11-14; Mt 24, 37-44

The word of God for us on the first day of the new Liturgical year (Cycle A) calls us to stay awake and be prepared to welcome the Lord into our hearts, our homes, our work places, and our communities. It may be true that having made a journey through the Liturgical Year we may be experiences some spiritual fatigue and sleepiness. This is the time to wake up and make ourselves first for a new Adventure with God where God wants to teach us His ways.

The prophet Isaiah helps us to paint an image of the kind of life God intended us (human beings) to have. What Isaiah speaks about may sound crazy in the ears of the mighty ones of our world: “Nation will not lift sword against nation, no longer will they learn how to make war.” Should all military training camps be closed? What seems to be a dream is indeed the sign that God`s kingdom has come. We ought to recognize that God is in charge. Weapons will never be beaten into ploughshares if the “human mighty ones” do not give the Mightier One space. The kingdom of God is characterized by peace and love. Peace and love have their roots in every act of humility. Let us unlearn war and conflict so that God may teach us His way of peace. If we allow God to work in our lives, then we can dream with Him of a world without conflict. This dream will be realized if we are ready to start with our personal grievances and brokenness before facing racial or ethnic tensions.

Having been re-initiated into God`s ways, we learn to let go of the human ways that many times leave us enslaved. St. Paul urges us to stop sleeping and move away from the darkness of orgies of all sorts, of drunkenness, of promiscuity, of wrangles, of hatred and of jealousy. If God gives us a chance, let us never postpone our choice to move away from shadows. In the presence of God`s light we see our shadows. The time for waking up is now. God offers us a new beginning. The adventure has restarted. Let us appropriate for ourselves honourable attributes for living: compassion, mercy, love, forgiveness, and mutual support!

Whereas Isaiah uses very comforting images (peace and justice) for the Lord`s day, Jesus uses a rather shocking image of a thief breaking into one`s house. What do we normally intend when we say in the Our Father: “thy kingdom come”? Are we ready to welcome all the attributes that this kingdom brings? Jesus offers us a warning so that the day of the Lord may not surprise like a thief. He invites us to be awake. If we are walking in the light of the Lord, we are alert to the simplest signs of the divine presence. The “holy thief” breaks into our lives in an unnoticeable way. It may be a soft knock at our house door or an unexpected generosity of a stranger or a mere smile. Be alert! Let us imagine Jesus breaking into our houses and ask what we are likely to lose. When He comes, all that is rooted in this world will disappear. Rooted in God we can stand to face the forces that threaten humanity: ecological disasters, wars, human rights violation, exploitation of the poor, human trafficking etc. All these should not dull our senses and sensitivity to what God is doing in our midst. Awake we shall always see the signs of God`s presence and action. In the end, we ourselves are invited to be the signs that God has not given up His life-transforming adventure with humanity. I have always been amazed that those who have faced challenges in life can give more hope and joy than those who have always enjoyed a comfort zone. Let us, thus, live the season of Advent as an opportunity of embracing God`s light so that we may spread light into the darkness of our personal lives and that of our communities! May we be open for the new advent which. Certainly, will transform us!

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