YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
THEME: HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH…YOUR LIBERATION IS NEAR
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading- Jer. 33:14-16
Second reading – I Thess. 3:12–4:2
Gospel – Lk. 21:-28. 34-36
Talking about the signs of the end, Jesus said as read in today’s gospel: “When you see these things take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand” – Lk. 21:28. A good question is: what are these things referring to. Sure, they are the incidents Jesus described in previous verses – cosmic signs, nations in agony, bewilderment by the clamor of ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world…the powers of heaven being shaken. For goodness sake, all these are what should make someone despondent instead of raising any hope; they should rather make the heads bend in utter disappointment instead of keeping heads high and erect. Yet, Jesus courageously tells us to pick up courage, hold our heads high and “be glad” for our liberation is at hand. What an irony! We as humans panic most when hard times impend. We are gripped with fear when things are not interesting. In my primary geography, I recall being thought by my teacher that the higher you go up the sky the cooler it becomes.
In other words, we see it normal that things get more settled as we approach the end, and would it be the other way round; fear grips us as we see it to be abnormal. At any rate, for those who are used to traditional music or cultural dances, a close observation shows that when the music tempo gets hotter and faster, perhaps the dancers become more wild and get a bit violent, then we know they are about to end the music and take some rest finally.
You may be experiencing some violence this time now that the year is packing up. The music of life may be playing faster and more fearful for you. The question would be: why me this time that the year is almost ended? I thought I should be heaving a sigh of relief by now. Why should I face this disappointment in my business this dying minute? Why has this man, this woman disappointed me when I thought I would be sending my invitation cards for my traditional marriage this December? Why must I be bereaved this time? God’s words are: “when you see all these things happening, hold your head high, stand erect for your liberation is at hand”.
Do not lower your head to bow before any god. Such gods would twist it finally for you. Hold it high. Do not give up; your miracle is on the way. Our help is in the name of the Lord, and we cannot behold this help if our heads are bowed down. Psalm 121 says: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains from where my help shall come…”
Blessed are those who do not give up on the Son of Man in time of adversity. Stand erect. There is light at end of that tunnel.