First Sunday of Advent, November 29
In the Midst of the Evils and Temptations Which Lead to the Many Disorders Which We Find in Our World Today, Jesus Calls Us to “Be Watchful” and “Be Alert”!
The Christian Church in both the East and West, since the early centuries of our faith, has marked special seasons to celebrate the central truths of Christianity.
The Advent season, which precedes Christmas and Epiphany, reminds us that we are a pilgrim people, aliens and exiles in this age in our life here on Earth – a people who long for our true home with God in Heaven, and who await, with joyful hope, for the return of our Lord in all His glory in order to bring all creation to fulfillment!
We read today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old…Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!”
Today, on this First Sunday of Advent, at the beginning of a new Liturgical Year, Isaiah is praying for a new beginning, in which we realize our dependence on the awesome wonder which is God, a dependence in which he states, “O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.”
Even Saint Paul, in our Second Reading today, is exhorting his readers to be mindful of the faith they had received, so that they may not be “…lacking in any spiritual gift” and that they may be found “…irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
For, in the fullness of time according to the Heart and Mind of Almighty God, when it becomes our time to stand before the Judgment Seat of Divine Justice, it is the love we lived or did not live in the here and now, it is our works – be they good or bad – which become either our witnesses to a life filled with faithfulness to Christ, or our accusers to a life which is darkened by faithlessness and infidelity to all that our Lord has asked of us!
And with all this in mind, we hear our Lord saying to us in today’s Gospel, encouraging us to be attentive to our life of faith and to that moment when everything shall come to fulfillment, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”
Yet, it is not God’s will that any of His children should be lost for all eternity in the bowels and the eternal fires of Hell! It is not His will that we should live our lives in such a way that we walk through life wearing blinders, being unobservant and defiant of the teachings of our faith. And Jesus says to each and every one of us –
“Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
The fulfillment of God’s promises to His children, which we read about in today’s Scripture, must of course begin with the advent of His First Coming, when the Eternal Word took flesh upon Himself, setting aside the awesome nature of His Divinity, so that He may become one like us, like you and me, in all ways except sin.
This Jesus, whom we have come to know and believe as the prophesied Messiah, the Eternal Son of God, Divine Wisdom and Mercy Incarnate, reaches out to us – in the past, present and future – to fill our hearts with hope – the hope in knowing and believing that, in the midst of the trials and crosses which you and I bear in this life, we truly have a God who understands our weaknesses and the tears we shed.
We truly have a God who has always been at the side of His children – always loving us, always embracing us – giving us the strength He knows that we need to endure the life that we travel regularly through this vale of tears in which we find ourselves each day.
And Jesus’ First Coming, which we celebrate on Christmas Day – a birth in a manger to teach us that God places great value on the virtue of humility – is intimately and inextricably tied to His Second Coming, in which we shall see Him in all His Glory, bringing to perfection, bringing to completion God’s Kingdom on Earth – a Kingdom in which each of us is a citizen by virtue of our Baptism into the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!
God’s Kingdom on Earth today is imperfect and incomplete, for it is composed of human beings who are flawed and imperfect, due to our inherent sinful nature. Yet, in spite of this, God calls each of us to enter into His Divine life, into His Mystical Body – for Christ Himself is the visible Presence of God’s Kingdom in our midst.
Christ came the first time to teach us, His children and all the generations that would follow, about the mind and the will of God, and about the profound wonders of the unfathomable Love and the limitless Mercy which Almighty God offers to each and every one of us. And He willingly embraced the Cross, so that we may be reconciled to His Father and ours for all eternity.
When Christ comes again, His Glory will fully reveal and manifest the eternal perfection and splendor of His Kingdom, for human history and all creation will finally achieve its ultimate fulfillment!
Jesus tells us today to “Be watchful!” and to “Be alert!” – especially in the midst of the evils and temptations which lead to the many disorders which we find in our world today! – for it is only in Jesus Christ where our true hope resides. It is only His very Presence in our hearts and souls which strengthens us during the many trials and tribulations which we face throughout our lifetime.
And it is this faith of ours, which we hold so dear to our hearts, which transforms us and gives us hope, as you and I look forward to celebrating His First Coming, one in which He embraced the virtue of humility.
And it is this faith in Jesus Christ which guides both you and me into looking forward to the awesome and wondrous event when Christ will come again, only this time in the fullness of all His Glory to make all things new!
As you and I enter into this Advent season, may our hearts be filled with joy, believing and realizing that, just as our Lord’s First Coming was an act of God’s Love for each of us, so, too, shall His Second Coming be a manifestation of the fulfillment of all His promises – promises made to each of us, His children, out of Divine Love.
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, look up and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand”!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as had not been heard of from of old…Would that you might meet us doing right, that we might be mindful of you in our ways!” (Isaiah 63:19b; 64:2-3a, 4a)
- “Yet, LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:7)
- “I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus…that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:4, 7-8)
- “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33)
- “Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.” (Mark 13:35-36)
- “…you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand…Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day.” (Romans 13:11-12)
- “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
- “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, look up and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:27-28)
- “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:37)
Prayer for the Day
“Heavenly Father, All-powerful God,
Our hearts desire the warmth of Your Love
and our minds are searching for the Light of Your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior
and give us the strength to grow in unselfish love
and the will for doing good here on Earth.
“May the dawn of the coming of Your Son, Jesus Christ,cf. Roman Breviary (First Sunday of Advent Prayer)
find within us a welcoming heart and
an eagerness to rejoice in His Presence,
that we may be found worthy to eternally live at His side
in the home which You have prepared for us
in Your Heavenly Kingdom from all eternity,
where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen.”