HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A
THEME: Walking in the Paths of God.
BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie
Today, the Church begins the holy season of Advent, which is devoted to waiting and preparing for Christmas. It is also the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year, and so, it includes not only the preparation of the coming of Christ at Christmas but also a preparation for the final coming of Christ at the end of time. So, it is a beginning of time that looks towards the end of time, because Jesus himself is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord of time. Advent teaches us how to live in expectation of the Lord’s coming, whether now or at the end of time. This idea informs the choice of the readings for the season. Our reflection today is on the theme of walking in God’s path, taken directly from the first reading but inspired also by all the readings. Walking, which in Hebrew is represented as “halak”, connotes a continuous activity. Unlike other verbs of movement, like going and travelling, which imply the idea of moving to somewhere, walking does not necessarily imply a point of arrival but a moving about. Walking in the paths of God, in the Hebrew context, means a lifelong activity. It means doing God’s will at all times. It is the best way to prepare for God’s coming. This idea ties together all the readings of today.
1. The first reading from Isa 2:1-5 invites the whole house Jacob to walk in the light of the Lord. Here, the house of Jacob, who is also called Israel, implies the whole people of God. Walking in the light of the Lord means that God is the one showing the way and the path. For Isaiah, the world will know lasting peace only when all learn to walk in God’s path. Because God’s ways bring peace and human unanimity, it is always a joy to go to God’s house (Psalm 122), in order to learn His word, His judgments and His laws. Such knowledge will change our wayward ways and put us on the path of true development and authentic humanity.
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2. The second reading from Rom 13:11-14 stresses the need to be always awake as salvation is at the corner. Paul, like Isaiah, urges all to walk in the light and cast off all forms of darkness. We are children of light and not of darkness. All the inordinate passions and vices that cut us away from God and from one another all belong to darkness and not to light.
3. In the Gospel text from Matthew, Jesus urges his hearers to be awake and always prepared as the Son of Man can come at any hour. The allusion to the days of Noah is very instructive. “In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away” (Matt 24:38-39). Here, Jesus is not against people eating and drinking and enjoying marital union. These are normal human activities. As long as people continue to live righteous lives, they will not have anything to lose when the end comes even while they are eating and drinking and marrying. That is why two men will be out in the field, one will be taken, and one left. Likewise, two women will be grinding at the mill, and one will be taken, and one left (24:40-41). This means that people will be at their normal business when the time comes, but only the ones that live habitually righteous lives will be saved. So, walking always in the way of God is the surest way to prepare and be confidentto face God wheneverHe comes calling.
4. As human beings, we often have the propensity to postpone changing our ways because we think we still have many years ahead. The readings of today warn us to be careful and live each day to the full by always being conscious of God’s will in our lives.
As we begin the season of Advent, we ask the good Lord for the graces to triumph over all the trials and temptations that alienate us and keep us far from His presence!
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