HOMILY FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B.
HOMILY THEME: “BE WATCHFUL! BE ALERT! “; BE PATIENT!
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
1st: Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
2nd: 1 Cor 1:3-9
3rd: Mk 13:33-37
It’s a new year. Yes! As we celebrate the first Sunday of advent the church ushers us into a new liturgical year. So, happy new year to you. The end of each liturgical cycle is a good opportunity for us to take stock of our spiritual life and make amends. During the last liturgical year, we have been fed with the word of God and the sacraments as spiritual food. A child who is well fed but does not grow up does not give joy to the parents. Have we really grown up spiritually from all the spiritual food we received from the word and sacraments during the last liturgical year?
It’s Advent season. Advent means ‘coming’, which we understand as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate word, in three senses: His coming in history (born in space and time), His coming in mystery (through the word and sacraments), and His coming in glory (the parousia, coming again to judge the living and the dead).
When we expect some “important visitors”, we try to keep everywhere clean, put on the most impressive clothes and make the best appearance. The visit of heads of state, political and religious figures are heralded by great preparations. Such visitors are received with pomp and pageantry. If that is the case with mere earthly figures, how about Jesus Christ, greatest visitor of all times, whose visit transforms the life of all who would receive him. How ready are we to receive him in our hearts? Are we ready to receive him in hearts without hate, prejudice and pride? How beautiful is our soul as it prepares to meet Christ as we celebrate his coming in history, his presence in mystery and his coming in glory?
WAIT! One of the problems of the modern man is the inability to wait. Every hour looks like the proverbial eleventh hour. Take a look at our public places like hospitals, gas stations, banks, highways and before traffic lights, you will marvel at the high level of impatience of the modern man. Many people are always wanting to move too fast and as a result end so fast. It also tells us about human impatience with God. It our affects the spiritual life. God acts according to his timing as the Bible says: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman…” (Galatians 4:4).
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote about patience: “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing’, it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way”. Patience is an important virtue to put on as the best impressive clothe during advent.
WAIT STILL! We are close to the month of December, the most critical month of the year. It’s a time of the year when everyone wants to meet up with every material need. Many are tempted to do all sorts of bad things to meet up. Hence, many are seduced to lies, deception, hate, immorality, murder, blackmailing, etc. There are two most important virtues every Christian should pray for this season. They are: courage to endure and patience to wait. No matter how long it will take God’s promise will come to fulfillment. And “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Is. 40:31).
AND WATCH! God requires a watchful Advent from us as Jesus makes clear in the gospel of today’s gospel.
As we are waiting we should also be watchful. St. Paul tells the Roman’s in the 2nd reading to be vigilant so that they are not lacking in any spiritual gift as they wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 1:7); to be awake in good works and righteousness. One can be waiting but not watchful. In that case he can miss his opportunity. To be watchful is living each day as God wants it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, HAPPY SUNDAY!