HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR A) DECEMBER 1, 2019.
SUNDAY READINGS YR A
First reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm: 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: Mathew 24:37-44
” The season of Advent is like springtime in nature, when everything is renewed and is fresh and healthy. Advent is also meant to do this to us; to refresh us and make us healthy in order to be able to receive Christ in whatever form He may come to us .”
–Mother St. Teresa of Calcutta
My dearest children of God, you are welcome to a new year of the Church’s calendar, cycle A, and to Advent, a special season of preparation and expectation. This is a season that prepares us for the great encounter with Christ at Christmas. We are invited to meditate on Jesus’ first coming in history as a baby in Bethlehem, and His daily coming into our lives in mystery, through : the sacraments, the Bible, the worshipping community and finally, His Second Coming at the end of the world to reward the just and to punish the wicked . The traditional signs of Advent in our Church are violet vestments and hangings, dried flowers or plain green plants and the Advent wreath. These signs remind us that we must prepare for the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts and lives, enabling Him to radiate His love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness around us.
This is a period of renunciation of our sinful lifestyles, so we can give grace a chance to transform us so that we may experience the blessings that Christ will bring us when He comes again.
The readings of today are an invitation to be conscious of the coming of Christ and the need to prepare , as a matter of urgency, by transforming our sinful lives and embracing a life of grace that would make us worthy to encounter Christ.
Procrastination is as bad as forgetfulness. The difference between the two is that a procrastinating person is fully aware that something has to be done. The procrastinator has not really thought it wise to give the task attention at the moment. Often it ends in forgetfulness which happens when the particular action that needs to be done, temporarily exits the conscious memory. One way we can overcome procrastination is by prioritizing our values or classifying them by their urgency and a commitment to carrying them out. Unfortunately, we often give low priority to spiritual values and that’s why the gospel of today reminds us to keep them on top of the list and to start working towards the goal today, because tomorrow may be too late.
In the first reading Isaiah describes his prophetic vision of all nations making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and affirming their faith in the one true God. It is a vision of a new world that will be established when Christ comes again, a world where all nations shall move towards Christ and obey His instruction. It is a world where no nation shall train to destroy another, a world where swords have to be transformed into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. These narratives remind us that this is a time to drop all enmities, malicious plans, and all evil intent and submit ourselves to God. Advent is a time to gradually drop all the evil plans. If you have any plan that does not fit into the demands of our calling this season, begin now to have a rethink. Drop that sword and embrace peace.
In the second reading, Paul encourages us to conduct ourselves as children of light and despise the works of darkness and indulgence in sinful habits. No one is without sin. We are all sinners striving to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Because of spiritual laxity, aridity, and sloth, many have taken up sinful habits that have become their second nature. Many justify their sinful lifestyle on the grounds of freedom; others are struggling to overcome their habits, while many others take pride in their sinfulness. St. Augustine once said, “ Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity. ” The fact remains that, without a conscious reflection on your life, someday you shall discover the extent of the damage you have done to yourself. Consciously and unconsciously a lot is affecting your life. Just stop and look back, and you will be surprised to see how far you have gone off track. A period such as Advent is a time of sincere commitment to spiritual self-improvement. It is a time to mourn our sins and take advantage of the rich treasures and spiritual resources of the Church in order to transform our lives. It is better today to identify at least one sinful habit and work on it than to procrastinate. With the grace of God, you will overcome. Keep your eyes on the track, lest you run outside of it and lose.
The Gospel reminds us that there is no time to procrastinate. The day of the coming of Christ is uncertain and yet very close. You may think it is 25th December this year, but even if it is, you aren’t even guaranteed to be alive till that day! So be spiritually vigilant now and avoid any contamination of sin. The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is to work towards a sincere life of repentance. Let not food nor drinks nor material things preoccupy your mind. God will take care of your needs this season. ” Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence .”
– St Augustine
One of the greatest hindrances to actualizing our goals and one reason why people often fail to do the best they can is to think there is more time to prepare, and before long they are already out of time. Basically, life has no guarantee nor warranty. When you are born you are to die. Prepare now for His coming. Do not ignore the warnings!!
In this Mass, we pray for the grace to be watchful over any sin that will pollute or contaminate the grace of God in us, while at the same time,we strive to renew our lives.
Prayer: Grant me oh Lord, the grace to be vigilant to avoid falling into sin. Help me by your grace. Amen.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers. Welcome to the season of Advent. Let’s keep in touch with God’s word.
©Clem C. Aladi. 2019