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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year B (Nov. 30 2014)

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year B (Nov. 30 2014) 
Theme: Be Alert as you wait for the Coming of Christ

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is a very important aspect of the Church’s liturgical life. Advent simply means arrival or coming. In the Church, it is observed as a period of expectancy and in it, we reflect on the coming of Christ in three historical strands. First, that he came about 2000 years ago, born of a virgin. Secondly, that Christ constantly comes into our lives and is ever present among us in this age through diverse means. Thirdly, that he will come again, then not as a baby or as a mediator but as a king to judge the living and the dead. While this season concretely prepares us for the re-enactment of the birth of Christ at Christmas, it also points to the eschatological return of Christ and urges us to prepare for that great day. Henceforth, our Sunday readings will come from Year B, the weekday readings from Year I and the predominant colour will be purple.

The Gospel reading (Mark 13:33-37) reminds us of the need to be alert as we anticipate the coming of Christ. In the reading, there are two important figures, the servants placed in charge of several duties and the gatekeeper asked to remain watchful. Jesus was more interested in the gatekeeper and urges us to be as watchful as a gatekeeper should be. A servant may sleep when he has satisfactorily completed his task but a gatekeeper is always alert not just waiting for his Master but also protecting the gate from unwanted strangers. During this period of Advent, the Church reminds us that Christ has placed us as gatekeepers in the various places we find ourselves and he expects that we remain alert while we wait for his coming. Jesus was not speaking of being alert in a physical sense but in a spiritual sense. Being alert implies being prepared to deal with something dangerous. One of the dangerous things that may confront us this season is losing sight of the spiritual essence of this period as we concentrate on our physical preparations for Christmas. 

St. Paul in the second reading (1 Cor. 1:3-9) reminds us of the Grace God has already given us. Let us utilize this grace as we remain alert in anticipation of Christ’s coming. This grace will enable us recognize the coming of Christ in the poor who come to us this period for assistance, in the community who gather to worship with us, in those we encounter in the exercise of our functions, in the sick, in the dejected, in prisoners and in various manners Christ may deem fit to come to us. Therefore, let us listen attentively to our spiritual leaders who will guide us this period. If we think we have fallen short of our expectations or have failed to recognize Christ who constantly comes to us, let us beseech him like the Israelites in the first reading (Is. 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7). Let us ask him to assist us with his grace and save us. This season of Advent, Christ wants us to wake up from our spiritual slumbers and await his arrival. His arrival for you may be now! Happy Sunday. God loves you.

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