1ST Sunday of Advent (B)
STAY AWAKE WITH AND FOR LOVE.
- Advent, a time of preparation and hope.
- “Staying awake with and for love,” a way of preparing ourselves.
- Advent, a time of joy and gratitude for God the Father’s goodness.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken, from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth. Rouse your power, and come to save us. (Psalm 79).
Today is the 1st Sunday of Advent which marks new liturgical year. The Church reminds us of this with a four-week period of preparation, so that we can get ourselves ready to celebrate Christmas once more. As we prepare ourselves to celebrate the first coming to the world of God made Man, our Mother Church wishes to remind us to be vigilant and watchful of the other ‘advents’ or arrival of God — first when we die, and then again at the end of time. The holy season is thus a time of preparation and of hope.
When the Messiah came, few really were expecting him. He came unto his own and his own received him not. Most men of that time had been blind to what was most essential in their lives and in the life of the world.
Watch, therefore, Our Lord tells us in today’s gospel (to Mark 13:33–37).
- “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!”
- For we too can forget what is most fundamental in our existence, what our life here on earth is about. The question is: How do we spiritually live this vigilance, watchfulness and wakefulness?
- The answer lies in preparing ourselves interiorly through the sacrament of Confession, and struggling to please God in all, and avoiding anything which would offend him, ready to renounce a way of life which is incompatible with the divine indwelling in our soul.
- “If we are aware that our sight is clouded and that we don’t see clearly the radiance emanating from Bethlehem, from the infant Jesus, it is time to rid ourselves of whatever impairs our vision. Now is the time for a specially good examination of conscience and for a thorough interior purification which will befit us to receive and to welcome that expected guest who is God. It is the moment to take note of the things that separate us from Him, to loosen their hold and cast them from us. Our examination, then, must penetrate to the very roots of our actions and scrutinize deep down in our hearts the motives which inspire our actions (F. Fernandez-Carvajal, In Conversation with God, vol 1.).”
- All these point to the fact that the vigilance which Our Lord expects from us must arise out of love for Him: staying awake with and for love, wanting what God wants and rejecting what God rejects.
At the same time, this period is one of thanksgiving and joy, as St. Paul makes us glean in the 2nd reading (1Cor 1:3–9).
“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 every 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. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- The fact that God the Father bestowed us all the means to receive His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, such that if we know how to fully correspond, we “are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and God will keep us “firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” are more than enough motives to be thankful to the Most Blessed Trinity and to be filled with joy as we await the various “advents” or arrivals of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We have a loving God, who in spite of our miseries, does not disinherit us, for You are, God, “our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.” (Cf. 1st reading, Isaiah 63:16b–17, 19b; 64:2–7)
Let us then rise up from our spiritual slumber in order to take advantage of these days of Advent to welcome with deeds the coming of Our Lord, through the help of Mary Immaculate, conceived without sin. Through Our Lady’s help and example, “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! (Cf. 1st reading). “
Almighty God, grant us the will to greet our Saviour with our good works when He comes, so that we may be worthy to be on His right hand and possess the kingdom of heaven.
A Blessed Advent to all!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo