Homily First Sunday of Advent Year B Be watchful

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Homily: First Sunday of Advent Year B

First Reading: The prophet Isaiah opens his prophetic word by acknowledging God as “our Father and redeemer” and ends with “you are our Father; we are the clay and you the potter; we are all the work of your hands.” This is reality.

But then he identifies another reality: we have sinned and wandered far from God. We can’t save ourselves, so we turn to God and implore him to come again to save us. We await his coming. This is the meaning of Advent.

At the same time, we pray that when he comes again, he may find us not doing wrong but doing right. This is also part of the meaning of Advent. Like in Lent, we are reminded of the need to turn away from sin in our own lives, as we implore his mercy.

We too need to recognize and acknowledge that God is the source of our being, our Father. We too need to admit and confess our sinfulness and our need for redemption and restoration.

We know he will come again in glory, another meaning of the purpose of this Advent season.

Advent focuses on the three comings of Jesus: his first coming at a particular time in history, his coming in this present time and his future coming in glory.  For us to belong to him in this present moment and in the future, what attitude do we need to have, so that he will recognize us as his own? The second reading told us.

Gospel: We are called to watch and be alert as Jesus comes in the present moment so that we will be ready when he comes in glory. This is based on the faith-fact that God over 2000 years ago did “rend the heavens and came down.” The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, to teach us of the Father’s great love and to demonstrate this love through his own dying and rising from the dead to save us from the final consequences of sin.

Not everyone received him when Jesus first came, because they had their own agendas and expectations, which were different from God’s salvific plan. Many missed the grace offered them in that first coming of Jesus.

We are reminded during this present Advent season to be watchful and alert so that we will not missed the grace moments God offers us of the coming of Jesus in the present moment. Because how we recognize and respond to his present comings will determine how we will respond to his ultimate coming.

Like the goats of Last Sunday’s Gospel who did not show love to Jesus in those of need and like the five foolish virgins who were unprepared when the bridegroom finally came, we may find ourselves in the same boat. To avoid this, the Church each year through the season of Advent reminds us of need to always be attentive to the coming of Jesus, less we are caught off guard and unprepared to share eternal life with him.

Reading 2: Because we are the work of God’s hands, he made us for himself. He has gifted us naturally and spiritually. In Christ we have been enriched in every way. Whether we acknowledge this truth or not, we are not lacking in any spiritual blessings and gifts, as we share in fellowship with Jesus, awaiting his coming.

How do we live out this belonging to Christ, this fellowship with Christ given to us? Seek, with his grace on a daily basis, to be irreproachable. What does this mean? Knowing that Jesus is coming in the present moment and will come in a final moment, we seek to remain free from deliberate and conscious sin. In this way Jesus will find us alert and watchful rather than indifferent and spiritually asleep.

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