By Fr. NOEL SEBETERO, SDB
27 November 2016
1st Sunday of Advent
Isiah 2: 1-5 Romans 13: 11-14
Psalms 122 Matthew 24: 37-44
Janus is a Roman god of beginnings. His two faces (opposite to each other) depict a journey of life that takes two directions — forward and backward. At the beginning of the new year, the journey may look back on the years that have just ended with a lot of memories and gratitude. A journey of remembrance. Or it may look forward with a sense of hope and expectancy to the year that lies ahead of us. A journey of vision and prophecy.
Today begins the new liturgical year. It is a journey of looking forward for the coming of the Lord. St. Augustine proposes a threefold understanding of this coming from the perspective of history, mystery, and eschatology. In all aspects, the reality of unpredictability of the hour or day plays a dominant role.
In all the dynamics, we simply have to wait and prepare. “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
At 6:00 am a young boy, before going to school, kissed his mother and bid her goodbye. At 6: 30 am he met an accident, declared dead on the spot. He was only 12. A husband kissed his wife before going to work. That was the last kiss. While driving his SUV, a big truck bumped his car. He was only 32, at the prime of his life. We are always caught up in the pleasures of the world and forget the shortness of life. Achievements and plans are just futile in the end.
We are always caught up in the pleasures of the world and forget the shortness of life. Achievements and plans are just futile in the end.
Illustrating his message in the three stories of Noah and the flood, the two workers in the field and the two women in the grinding mill, and the thief in the night, Jesus challenges us to make every journey a moment of messianic waiting and renewed vigilance.
It envisions hope for the reign of peace. It is attentive to the promotion of justice, peace, and hope. It is lived properly as in a day.
The night is advanced. The day is at hand. Let us throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Darkness obscure our vision of God. Now is the time to create a space in us where God can meet us. Now is the time to engage in the here and now so that others may find light in their darkness, meaning in their sufferings, hope in their despair, joy in their sorrow. Waiting for the Lord does not mean getting out of history but engaging in it. Passion for God, compassion for humanity.
(Rescue worker cries after pulling baby from rubble in Syria c”_)
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart…. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard. (Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel)