Homily First Sunday of Advent Year C Preparing for his coming

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Homily First Sunday of Advent Year C

Reading 1: The prophet Jeremiah speaks a word of hope and anticipated joy to a people in desolation. The people of Israel have been exiled from Judea because they had not heeded the word of God to remain faithful to their covenant with God. Thus, the prophetic word they did not heed became a reality, namely exile from Jerusalem and specifically from the Temple, symbol of God’s presence.

Now, God speaks a new word and this promise of God will be fulfilled. What is that word of hope? God will raise up a descendant of David the King, who will deliver the people. He will do what is right and just. Where those in the past were not faithful to the covenant, this savior will be, teaching us how to likewise be faithful.

When will this happen? There will be a time of security and peace in Judea. Jeremiah was urging the people to once more look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise. Jeremiah himself was looking forward to the coming of the Christ in time.

Just as that promise of God has been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, we are called to look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises in our life time. To do this we need to put our trust and hope and life in God. What we are called to be attentive to is Jesus’ coming in the present moment, which is his coming in mystery. In this way we will be prepared for his second coming either at the end of our personal life or the end of the world. This will be his coming in majesty.

Reading 2: Our response to the prophetic promise of God fulfilled in the person of Jesus is twofold. First we are called to increase and abound in love for one another so that we may be blameless in holiness before God. Secondly, we are called to conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God. In both we are told never to be satisfied that we have done enough but ask God for the grace to do more.

Why?  Our focus is to be ready for the coming of Jesus in the present moment and in the end. For what we do in our relatively short life-time will impact our eternity. To love one another even more and to do what pleases God the more are really complimentary.

Gospel: Last Sunday we read the vision of Daniel in the Old Testament and the vision of John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation. Both saw the Son of Man coming on clouds with power and authority. In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the same image: the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and glory.

Jesus has come in time and he will come again. When he comes again, will we be frightened or will we be joyful? When he comes in the present moment or in a future time will we be expectant or caught off guard? What is the attitude that Jesus urges us to have? “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” That is the first. The second is: “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

The best way to prepare for that moment is to learn from the past and live in relationship to God in the present moment. For if I am in union with God in the present moment, then, when that future moment comes, it will find me ready and not afraid.

We are called to live each moment as if it is our last moment, so that, when that last moment of earthly life comes, we are in union with God.

Advent means “coming”. Each year we are given a new opportunity to make a new beginning. It is a grace time. As we prepare to celebrate his first coming in time, we need to be attentive to his coming in the present moment, so that when he comes in majesty we are prepared to receive him and he us.

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