HOMILY ON THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C.
THEME: GETTING READY FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD.
BY REV. FR. MAYERE HABILA.
Today the church begins the new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent. So I say, congratulations to all of us and may we see the end of this liturgical year happily and joyfully.
Advent comes the Latin word which simply means “coming”. It is a season we consciously, dedicatedly, joyfully, devotedly, vigilantly, meditatedly, prayerfully, watchfully and happily prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ.
> His coming in history in the flesh ( Incarnation).
> His coming in Mystery ( Sacraments).
> His coming in Majesty ( Second coming in glory i.e Parousia).
Advent marks the beginning of the church’s liturgical calendar. For us Christians and Catholics in particular, it means a time of expectation and preparation for the coming of the Lord. So, the prophesy of John de Baptist, “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, prepare a way for the Lord…. ( Mark 1:3), echoes loudly to us this season.
Advent is a season for us to learn to wait and our waiting should be spiritual. It is a time when we expect mercy and liberation because our Lord, the King of the universe comes with power to reign over his people.
All the readings of today expresses our need for God and the necessity of waiting for Christ to come and save us.
In the first reading taking from the prophet Jeremiah, the prophet reminds us that we must expect the fulfilment of God’s promises to us this season. The promise is about our deliverance and the restoration of our lost integrity which has been stifled by fear of the unknown. It is equally a time of restoration of our hope and faith.
How do we begin this presentation?
St Paul gives us clue in the second reading when he says, “May he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of God….when our Lord comes with all his saints”. St Paul admonishes us to conduct ourselves in the way that pleases God. This is a call to strive towards perfection and holiness.
So in this season, let us try to avoid sin such as greediness, licentiousness, inordinate ambition, anger, malice, adultery, fornication, jealousy, covetousness, immodesty, gossiping, lying, blackmailing, backbiting, abortion, envy and all sorts of vices. We must prepare and equip ourselves with good virtues like a bride waiting for her husband.
The gospel reading reminds us also to be patient, watchful and vigilant for the coming of Christ. It is a call for us to intensify our prayer life most especially now that we are facing challenges and problems in our family, community and nation. As a family and nation, this Advent season offers us an ample opportunity to be united in prayer as we await the coming of Christ and also for the betterment of our nation.
In a world caught up with a mad rush for many things, this Advent season caution us to slow down, to stop, to wait, to be patient, to ponder on where we are really going.
In a world where almost everybody is in a rush, there is a need for us to wait for someone or something. Advent should enlighten us to be patient and humble, watch and pray, vigilant and watchful.
It helps us to patiently wait not for only God, but for people and events.
Wait for your wife, wait for your husband, wait for your life partner, wait for your breakthrough, wait for your promotion, wait for your admission, wait for your employment, wait for your priest, wait for your turn in the bank, in the filling station, in the AMT point, wait for Mass to finish, wait for your closing hour at work, wait for your miracle, wait for your blessings and wait for God because God’s time is the best.
We pray in this Mass that, as we begin the season of Advent, may the Lord find us watchful, awake and ready when he comes in glory. Let us pray together with the Psalmist who says, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul”.
May the peace and grace of Christ be with you in this season and beyond, Amen. May we all see the end of this liturgical year happily and joyfully, Amen.
Happy first Sunday of Advent beloved in Christ