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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year A (December 1 2013)



Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year A (December 1 2013)
Uwakwe Reflections: 2 Years Anniversary Edition
Theme: Behold the Lord is Coming

On this first Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new liturgical year (A), the first in her three year cycle. The season of advent is a special season in which the Church prepares for the arrival of the Lord. The Church speaks of this arrival in three historical strands. The first is the first coming at Bethlehem as the Prince of Peace. The second is the second coming at the Parousia as Judge while the third is the daily coming of Jesus into our lives as Lord and Master. For us Christians, this should be a special period of encounter with Christ. It is a period that reminds us of His first coming, urges us to prepare for His second coming and makes us conscious of His daily coming into our lives. To encounter Christ, the first reading (Is. 2:1-5) invites us to “go up to the mountain of the Lord”. It is an invitation to encounter God in the Holy Mountain where He dwells.


The Mountain referred to in this passage is Mount Zion in Jerusalem and it was on this mountain that the Temple was built. Since Jesus is the real Temple of God, it is to Jesus that we are invited and as the first reading says “that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths”. We cannot understand the way of the Lord or walk in His paths if we are not closely united with Him. There are two ways in which we could be closely united with Jesus. The first is the constant struggle we make to be closely united with Him. This struggle is punctuated with frequent rise and fall in our desire to be united with Jesus. The second way is the reward all Christians anticipate at the end of time. Then we shall no longer struggle to be united with Him because then He will completely draw us to Himself.

During this period of advent, the Church invites us to work towards being united with Jesus at the end of time. Since the end time will come unexpectedly, the gospel reading (Mt. 24:37-44) advices us never to be carried away by the activities of this world to the extent that we loose consciousness of the end time. What matters most is not how much earthly goals we accomplish but how prepared we are for the Lord’s coming. The Church is not discouraging us from going about our earthly interests. Instead, She is urging us to prepare for our permanent future just as we prepare for our temporal future. As we work hard to make fat savings in case of emergencies, we should also work hard to be prepared for the unexpected arrival of the Lord. The Gospel advices us to watch therefore, for we do not know on what day our Lord is coming.

The unexpected arrival of the Lord is not meant to put fear in us, but to make us serious in our preparations. How then should we prepare? St. Paul in the second reading (Romans 13:11-14) advices us to give up all the things we tend to do under the cover of darkness and live decently as people do in the daytime. He went further to advise us to “behave with decency, no orgies or drunkenness, no prostitution or vice, no fighting or jealousy”. This period is a wonderful opportunity to look into our lives and get rid of all evil thoughts, words or actions. It is an opportunity to occupy our hearts with good thoughts that will enable us prepare well to meet the Lord. when He comes. 

Therefore my beloved friends, as people in the secular world prepare for the end of the year, let us join them but rather in a more spiritual sense. Let us balance our spiritual lives by making a proper examination of conscience and a firm purpose of amendment. So that even if the Lord comes while we are still in the field working, we shall be taken to be with Him and never left behind. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

*Please do say a special prayer for me today as today marks the second year of my writing these reflections* - Uwakwe Chibuike

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