This first Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year. Advent season is a period of waiting, a preparation time for the coming of Christ. We joyfully recall Christ’s first coming and in great hope look forward to His second coming. Advent is not an anticipated Christmas. It is a special time to wait, prepare, reflect and pray.
The first reading expresses Israel’s great longing for the Lord. The prophet Isaiah used images like polluted rags and withered leaves to describe the guilt and sinfulness of the people. In their weakness and helplessness, they turn to God and long for His coming. In their cry, the Lord came as a Father. The Responsorial Psalm aptly articulated Israel’s longing into a prayer, “Lord, make us turn to You, let us see Your face and we shall be saved.”
St Paul’s expression of gratitude is a perfect reminder and an attitude to imbibe during this season. Acknowledging God’s generosity helps us to look forward, with great confidence, to even greater Gift to be revealed. God’s faithfulness is our strength and our shield.
Be watchful and be alert! This Gospel message should not be a threat but an encouragement to be ready at all times. Jesus is inviting us to live life to full. We may remember the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant from the Gospel of Matthew. Mark, in this part of his Gospel, emphasizes our responsibility to be good stewards. This is the key to a meaningful, happy and successful life. We should not live in fear. Life is too precious to be wasted on laziness or vices. We do not know when the time will come so seize the day. Time waits for no one. Do what you need to do.
This Advent season, let us actively wait and prepare for the coming of the Lord. This entails doing our best to prepare a worthy dwelling place in our hearts for Jesus. May our families pray and work together to create a true spirit of communion. May our communities participate in this preparation by developing a good support system that enables individuals to flourish in their capabilities, to bring out the best in everyone. Fr Gilbert Ramos