Homily 1st Sunday of Advent Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings; Jer 33:14-16; Ps 25:4-5,8-10,14; 1 Thes 3:12–4:2 and Luke 21:25-28,34-36
Preparation for Christ
Advent is a preparation for Christmas. It is a time we celebrate the first coming of our Savior, Son of Man, and Son of God. It is also a season in which our minds and thoughts are spiritually and joyfully directed in expectation to the Second coming Christ. Advent is a season of hope. It is a season of love. It is a season of faith; a season of renewal, a time of prayer and vigilance in penance and charity.
Last year this time in the United States and in other English speaking country we embrace and implemented the new translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. Today also especially in this part of the world is one year anniversary of the new missal, our prayer and faith book. So today we celebrate the unity of our faith in Christ Jesus the bridegroom of the Church.
One thing you would notice in the Bible readings of today is that in as much as advent commemorates past events, it mediates salvation, and deepens our awareness of Christ presence in the Church and the fulfillment of that promise made by God to our ancestors, Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, David through the mouths of the prophets.
In the midst of threats of the Babylonian military might, threats of exile, lose of homes, lives, the temple and its treasures, the Prophet Jeremiah, a late pre-exilic prophet, mediates with words of hope. He recalls the promise God had made to David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, “in those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just-shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure…” (Jer 33:14-16).
And Paul said similar words of encouragement to the troubled Thessalonians Church, “brothers and sisters may the lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones,” (1 Thess 3:12–4:2)
Apart from f Jeremiah and his contemporaries or Paul and his Thessalonians Church, the Lukan Jesus towards the end of his ministry, and as he approaches his passion, instructs his troubled disciples as well of their preparedness. Christ says;
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxiety of daily lives, and that day catches you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times…” (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36).
This awareness or vigilance is at the core of the message of advent; Vigilance with hope, faith, and love and total self-reexamination. Jeremiah had asked his people of the same vigilance. So also was Paul of the Thessalonians Church. Advent is a time we are vigilance of what God has done for us not only at the present, but also in the past and in the future. Advents reminds us of what God expects of us and what he will continue to do for us, provided we listen to him!
It requires prayers and in being vigilance to the beautiful prophetic messages of this season. John the Baptist the last prophet before Christ bears this message as well. He says to us repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. John remains our model during this advent.
Besides John the Baptist, Mary is another model. She is closely related to the mysteries of her Son, Christ whom we expect at Christmas. Recall how Mary will react to the message of the angels and the mysteries of her pregnancy. She took everything in with fatih. She prepared and waited for her Son’s coming with love, hope, generosity of mind, humility, openness, transparency, vigilance, prayer and joyful praise.
May we imitate the prophets, John the Baptist and our Mother Mary, in our various capacities, as we prepare and awaits the coming of Christ at Christmas and at the parousia.