Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homily: First Sunday of Advent B- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

First Sunday of Advent Year B- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
: Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; 1 Cor 1:3-9 and Mark 13:33-37.

Sufficient Grace of God for those who Hope in Him

The Season of  Advent marks a new sacred liturgical year. In the United States and in other English speaking church communities, the new translation of the Third Edition of the Roman missal is implemented. What a unity of faith, renewal of love and hope! God is always there in every moment of our history and times. We are invited to watch!

 Advent is a time we pray, prepare, expect and wait with hope for the coming of Christ, God’s Son, at Christmas! As indicated in the Bible readings of today, it is a watchful time we are called to reflect on our experience of God in the church, in our neighbors and in our salvation history- past, present and future struggles.

St. Paul in 1Corinthian in addressing a wobbling,  quarrelling and struggling Christian community, in the early stage of the development of their faith reminded everyone of the sufficient grace of God for those who hope and trust in Him. Paul writes:

“I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in very way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:3-9).

In today’s Gospel, Markan Jesus reminds his disciples of the significance of this time of waiting. It is the Kairos, an important time, a quality time (Mark 1:15); a time nobody knows (Mark 13:33).  This time can only be handled by watchfulness, being alert, loving our neighbors, forgiving those who have offended us- asking those we have offended for forgiveness, and practicing charity with the poor, the needy of what we have, especially in excess, including health care, fundamental human rights, education, food, and roofs over their heads and clothing for their nakedness.

 As  Psalm 80 would put it, it is a time we employ the Lord in every components of our daily activities- commerce, religion, education, justice and politics. It is the time we continue to turn completely to him, seeking his face in order to be saved.

This was true of the the Israelites- returnee from the Babylonian exile in today's first reading, from Third Isaiah.  Granted there were frustrations, expectations disappointments and difficulties in an attempt to get adjusted to the returned homeland, they turned to the Lord. In addition, there were  tension between promised and fulfillment, “now “and “not yet," self- rule and justice were far fetched in the home land.

They resorted to prayers, laments, questions expressing sorrow, dependence and trust in God: “why do you let us wander, O Lord from your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? … Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you…”

God has answers  for every question of our lives:  the where? How? When? What and why (s)?  (Isa 63: 15, 17; and 64: 5),of all our struggles and sometimes frustrations. This has been the case throughout history of our salvation.

As we journey through this sacred season of Advent with hope, let us walk with a reassurance that God our Father is the porter and we are the clay, the works of his hands( Isa 64:2-7). Irrespective of our lives situations, may we go home today with this reassurance that God’s grace will always be sufficient unto all of us ,who trust and hope in him.