YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ADVENT SEASON
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: Every Liturgical Year is an opportunity to speak Christ, to live Christ, to deepen our faith in, hope on and love for Christ, to enter into the mysteries of Christ, the mysteries of our Salvation and to experience anew the ever abiding presence of Christ. Every Liturgical Year is a period to celebrate Christ the Emmanuel, sent by the Father and made known to us and ever present in our midst by the Holy Spirit; and to make ever present the merits of His Salvific Mission through all of the History of Salvation. May our pilgrimage throughout the Liturgical Seasons of this Liturgical Year bring us nearer to God, and make our relationship in faith with Him stronger, our love for Him deeper and heighten our hope on Him and widen and make clearer our knowledge of Him; Amen.
The Advent Season opens the door unto us in this journey of faith as we strive to make Christ palpable to our brothers and sisters, in the spirit of His holiness, in the fullness of His power, in the perfection of His ways, in the truth of His virtues, in the communion of His mysteries by the assistance of the unmerited graces of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of the Father. Like other years, the Year A of the Liturgical Cycle is unique in various ways, especially for the fact that a greater percentage of the Gospel Readings of the Sunday of this year, with the exception of the Easter Season, is taken from the Gospel of Saint Matthew. Hence, it is also known as the Year of Saint Matthew. The word Advent is a term derived from the Latin ‘Adventus’ which means coming. This season has it main focus as the preparation for the two comings of Christ; firstly His coming at the end of time “in glory to judge the living and the dead” (From the First Sunday of Advent to the 16th of December) and secondly the first coming of Christ over two thousand years ago in the town of Bethlehem in Judaea which will be commemorated at Christmas; “for us men and for us our Salvation He came down from heaven and by the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.” The Advent Season is a season of expectation, preparation and penance, and most importantly of hope which is seen in the colour purple/violet worn throughout this Season. Charged by this mood, the Responsorial Psalm invites us to sing with a joyful hope “I rejoiced when I heard them say, let us go to God’s house.”
The readings of today lift our minds and heart in expectation towards the One Who will “come again to judge the living and the dead” and at the same time charge us to prepare always to welcome Him in a worthy manner. This admonition is very important in order to stand against all those who purport, in different forms and manners, to know the exact date the world will end. The Lord Himself made it clear in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 24:37-44), “stay awake, because you do not know the day when your Master is coming.” Staying awake means to be ever ready, never succumbing to the promptings of the Devil the prince of darkness; always prepared to meet with the Lord. The mission of the Devil is to transform us into opaque objects. On the other hand, God is Light and He comes to make us luminous and transparent. The graces of God, emanating from Light Himself never flourish in opaque vessels. Hence, the Season of Advent is always an invitation to transparency; pitching of our tents in the light for in the words of Saint Paul in the Second Reading (Romans 13:11-14); “the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon, let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime.” This invitation to be illuminated and be transparent is very basic because the One we are expecting is the Light and in Him there is no darkness and surely darkness has nothing to do with the Light. It is this Light that establishes the House of God and makes it the light of the world, Lumen Gentium; and the rays of this Light fills the heart of all those invited to this House with joy. It is this same Light that transforms all those who belong to this Household of the Light into agents of light. Hence, at the end, those who will live with Him forever are those who follow the path of light; “o House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Is 2:1-5).
As we journey through this Liturgical Year, may we be faithful and luminous followers of Christ and fruitful in works of charity as we wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; Amen.
Happy Sunday and Happy New Month; Fr Cyril CCE