HOMILY OF THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A
THEME: VOYAGE OF GRACE
Every Liturgical Year is a re-living, a re-enactment, of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not just in the Life of the Church, but also in the lives of every one of her children; in your life and in my life. What we have today is a new opportunity to play Christ anew and afresh in the celebration of His ministries; His Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous ministries. Our replay of this ministries and our concrete witness to them is what makes us authentic followers of Jesus Christ. As we have this new opportunity, may we utilize it fruitfully; Amen.
The Liturgical Year is a celebration of Christ through which we are enriched by the graces He offers. It is a Voyage of Grace which opens to us with the Advent Season through the Christmas Season, Lenten Season, Easter Season and the Ordinary Season. The Advent Season which we begin today is a season of preparation. Inviting us to prepare; firstly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the age (from First Sunday of Advent to 16th of December) and secondly to prepare to celebrate the memorial of the Incarnation (the coming of God in human form: 17th to 24th of December). The Season of Advent connects us with the First Coming of God in human form and to His final coming “in glory to judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1).
The First Reading today (Isaiah 2:1-5) invites and welcomes us to this Voyage of Grace; “come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.” It is a Voyage of Grace because within the Liturgical Year, God continues to communicate Himself to us in the celebration of the Word and Sacraments. It is a Voyage of Grace because through our commitment and participation in the activities therein; we come closer to God, we become wider in our knowledge of Him, we grow deeper in our love for Him and we become most joyous because of the intensity of our relationship with Him. It is a Voyage of Grace because throughout the Liturgical Year, God continues to invite us to bind together as one family of God’s children.
Consciousness of all these is what keeps us awake and vigilant; empowering us to fit into the heavenly resonance which we must follow on this Voyage of Grace. To be successful in this Voyage of Grace, following the sound of divine resonance is never optional. This is what staying awake means. To stay awake which the Second Reading (Romans 13:11-14) and the Gospel Reading (Matthew 24:37-44) emphasis is an essential part of every advent in the ordinary sense of the word. To stay awake is to be attentive to this Divine Resonance which is a clear sign of one who is focused on this Voyage of Grace. Attentiveness to the sound of Divine Resonance explains the choice in the Gospel; “two men in the fields, one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.”
May this Season of Advent and the entire Liturgical Year be a true Voyage of Grace; a Journey of Grace for you and your household; Amen. Happy Sunday;
-Fr Cyril Unachukwu