First Sunday of Advent 28/11/2021, Year C, Lk 21, 25-28, 34-36
We are today on the first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the liturgical year. The words for this Sunday are Advent and Hope. At first, Advent or Adventus in Latin which means “Coming”. Advent directs us to the birth of Christ and his first coming as a human being. It directs our attention to Christ’s coming and reflects especially on how Christ comes into our life. And It directs us to Christ coming for the last time. Secondly, Hope, the word of this Sunday, is something good that we want to happen in the future or a confident feeling about what will happen. It is for us, Christians, the coming of Christ and His Kingdom, a better world.
In today’s readings, prophet Jeremiah looks forward to honestly and integrity in the land. Paul expects the Thessalonians to live a completely blameless life. And Jesus speaks of a day when the Son of Man is coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Knowing that these words were from the time of distress and persecution: The destruction of Jerusalem in the time of Jeremiah; persecution for the Thessalonians community; and Jesus’ words are his last before the passion. Does it seem in a difficult situation that we dream of a better world?
We are normally disappointed with the reality that we face. We see our world with a dramatic sight: disordered, unresolved problem, questions unanswered. It is real, looking at our social, familial issues, immigrants, climate change, the pandemic…That is what we see. We have the impression that the more we do things more problems we have. The problem may be we see the world with our sight and make it with our own will or idea. It is difficult to see the good things made by our brothers and sisters rather than the good things. It is hard to see the beauty of God's creation. It is hard to recognise Jesus Christ in our neighbours. It is also not easy to see how the Son of Man can be in a little, poor boy. However, as we hear in the book of Genesis “ God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” Gn1. That is God’s way to see the world. The world with God’s sight and in His presence is beautiful, ordered, and harmonious. That is our hope.
As Christians, we are often accused of not being realistic people due to this hope. We obviously cannot escape to another world by denying this one. God also invites us to cooperate with him. We believe that this world will be there with the presence of Christ. We should build this world into a better place. A better world, we are waiting for, we hope for, is coming soon. A better world is also the promise of God through the word of prophet Jeremiah “I am going to fulfil the promise I made”. So in this Advent season, we should take into consideration two things: seeing this world with God’s sight and preparing for his coming by doing his will.
For sure we regard Advent as a season of preparation. We are told that we have to prepare our hearts for his Coming. But what are the things we can do to prepare ourselves? Saint Paul in the second reading tells us “increasing our love and love for one another. And he urged us to live the life that God wants with the instructions given. So we are blameless in the sight of God”. We are also told in the Gospel: “stay awake, praying at all times”. Advent becomes an opportune time for us to prepare our hearts and welcome the riches of the grace of God in the gift of His Son by seeing with God’s sight and doing his will “love one another”.
As we begin this season of preparation, let us make the most of this time by keeping our eyes and hearts open and earnestly implore: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.” (Psalm 80:3)