Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Today, we meditate and reflect on the hope and joy for the future. Beyond the changes and challenges we face, there is still a desirable hope and future.
In life we have a lot of expectations and these expectations are kept alive by hope. Our God is a wonderful planner and all his plans are perfect and wonderful for us. As we begin the season of Advent today, let us know that Jesus is the center of this season and of the whole liturgical year. Jesus is the reason for the season, the focus point. It is a holy season.
The central message today in the Gospel is clear and urgent: “Be Watchful! Be Alert.” The Son of man is coming, Jesus Himself. He has already come, and he is here speaking to us right now, in Word and Sacrament.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word, “Adventus” which means “Coming.” Jesus is coming. It is the time we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, both by looking back to the first coming of Christ and by looking forward to his second coming. We look to his coming again with joyful hope. It is not a time to plan evil, or pay evil for evil, is not a time to waste our lives running after things that have no value in our lives, rather, it is the time to do good works, works of charity and the time to be closer to God. It is a time of prayer, penance, fasting, and a time to make amendment of our past and to look forward in expectation to his second coming.
Our faith enables us to believe without doubt in the coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Hope enables us to trust in his promises relying on the grace of God, not on our own strength. And love urges us to live a good life by pleasing God. Jesus encourages us today to stay awake with hope, praying with faith, having confidence before the Son of man with love so as to survive all that is going to happen. Therefore, be alert, be watchful, be prayerful and be ready at all times, so that we are not caught unaware.
Our life must be a life of watching and waiting. When night comes we wait for the day. When the day has dawned we wait for the night, etc. But above all, we must wait for the second coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with trust and joyful hope. As we await his second coming, we us pray with the prayer of Saint Paul in the second reading that, “God may enriched us in every way so that we are not lacking in any spiritual gift as we wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. May he keep us firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Amen. As we light the first candle of Advent today, let our light also reflect the advent season and to shine out to all. Let us open our hearts to receive Jesus with great joy and hope. If you find this time difficult for you or whatever your experience may be, remember the message of Advent, “Wait patiently for God in joyful hope.” He will change everything for your good. Keep the faith, keep smiling, and keep trusting God.
God is good…all the time.
God bless you.
Fr. Daniel E. Ogbeifun