Homily  1st Sunday of Advent Year C: Fr. Michael U. UdoekpoReadings; 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 (Don’t be A Stranger)!
How often do we not say to our friends, “don’t be a stranger? Advent invites us not to be stranger when the Lord, our longtime friend comes! 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, prince of peace that the world so much need today! 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; especially when we are confronted these say, with terrorism and acts of faithlessness. It is a season of renewal, a time of prayer and vigilance in penance and charity. Advent invites us to reset our spiritual calendar, to readjust the choices in our lives to be sure that they are consistent with the priorities of Christ.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 to us by through our ancestors and the prophets.
In the midst of threats of the Babylonian military might, threats of exile, loss of homes, lives, the temple and its treasures, the Prophet Jeremiah, mediates with words of hope. No doubt today, we are faced with all threats of war and terrorism, but, Jeremiah whispers to us 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). No matter are contemporary threats, there is hope!
Similarly, Paul, in the second reading, foretells a day when God will invite us into a joy-filled life with the saints. We might have out troubles today, but, we can all relate to Paul’s words 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)
Even the Disciples of Christ were threatened. They were troubled. That was why the Lukan Jesus towards the end of his ministry, instructed his troubled disciples not to be a stranger when the Lord comes. Christ said,
“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 in the midst of our uncertainties! Advent invites us to wait for God not with a sense of fear and dread, but with prayers and lively hope- like expectant parents, like a longtime friend waiting to encounter a longtime friend, for a renewed friendship. Advent invites us to reflect on that friendship and not to be a stranger when the Lord comes!