Advent-1 Is 2:1-5; Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44
Today marks the beginning of the season of Advent, a time of prayer and preparation -- a time-out from hectic distractions, and a time-in for quiet nourishment from the beautiful Advent scriptures. It's a time for inner activity of prayer, and outer works of generosity to our neighbor.
In the first reading from Isaiah, God invited the divided
to climb the
holy mountain to His house. There He will melt down their swords, and turn
their hearts to thoughts of peace. kingdom
The second reading from Paul to the Romans insists that we wake up, and throw off the works of darkness. If we follow Paul's advice to walk in the light, then Advent is a time for sincere riddance of sinful ways and sluggish response to the teaching of Jesus and His Church.
Jesus has explained that
God wants us to know that our time is limited, that our lives and history itself will come to an end.
He wants us to know this, because he wants us to use our limited time wisely, living as true Christians.
All the three readings of today describe the manner how our waiting should be! The waiting of a Christian is not a passive waiting devoid of any creative activity. It is not a waiting in laziness. But this waiting is an invitation to walk in the ways of the Lord – the way of justice, the way of charity, the way of forgiveness, the way of simplicity and the way of altruism.
Advent is a time of invitation to be engaged in action. In the mind of Paul the whole life of a Christian is waiting to meet Jesus. It is not a call to be passive and do nothing. But it is a call to be actively engaged in the daily affairs of life. To be instruments in the hands of God. God worked among His people through the medium of chosen people. Today we are the instruments at the hands of God.
This text indicates that the end will seem to be a peaceful and normal time, with people eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and working in their homes or businesses. In this routine normal life, it might be easy to forget the "coming of the Son of Man." In a reference to the story of Noah, Jesus says that the sin of the people was placing too much emphasis on the normal cares and necessities of life. They were too concerned with eating and drinking – just as we are during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. Jesus reminds us that there is something more important than feasts or weddings: the Son of Man will come to us unexpectedly, either at our death or at the end of the world, and that could be at any moment. Since God will show up without an appointment, we must be prepared at all times.
Advent is a time to turn our attention to the three comings of Christ: his first, 2000 years ago; his last, sometime in the future, and his ongoing one, through his grace, his providence, and the sacraments - when we turn our attention to these three comings of Christ, we will see something new, something different.
Somebody has said: If you would like to keep Christ in Christmas, keep Advent in Advent.” If our preparation is serious enough our Christmas will be rewarding. The Jewish scholars knew when and where the Messiah would be born. They gave the clear knowledge to Herod. But they themselves failed to move any finger to go meet the Messiah. But the wise men from the East made a long tiresome journey to find the Messiah and they were fully satisfied by their effort.
How are we going to be alert and watchful ? Every morning when we get up, let us pray, “Lord, show me someone today with whom I may share your love, mercy and forgiveness.” Mother Teresa of
once said, "Whatever you do in
your family, for your children, for your husband, for your wife, you do for
Jesus." Every night when we go to bed, let us ask ourselves, “Where
have I found Christ today?” The answer will be God’s Advent gift to us
that day. Calcutta