Homily: First Sunday of Advent Year A Walk in the light of the Lord

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Homily: First Sunday of Advent Year A

Reading 1: The people of Israel are experiencing both external threats and internal struggles. Externally, the surrounding nations are seeking to overcome them and subjugate them. The answer of Israel is a state of war. Internally, many of the people have forgotten their covenant with God. They are seeking to be a nation like the surrounding nations.

God sends the prophet Isaiah to speak the message of truth. He speaks about the mountain of Zion, the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. About the mountain he says: “In days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain.” About the city he says: “For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” And about the Temple, he says: “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain to the house of the God of Jacob.”

What the people of Israel forgot was the Lord and his role in their lives. They were reminded that if they walked in the light of the Lord, they would be taken care of. Walking in the light of the Lord meant being in right relationship with God and acting on his word.

It was God who brought them out of bondage in Egypt with signs and wonders. It was God who purified them in the crucible of the desert before bringing them into the land of promise. It was God who established the kingdom of David. They forgot that when their ancestors depended on the Lord, they were victorious over their enemies.

As we begin this new Advent season, we are reminded that the Lord is with us on our journey. We are called once more to walk in the light of the Lord, who is our true peace.

Gospel: Jesus says that in spite of the warning given the people of Noah’s day, they kept sinning and refused to believe in the word of God. When the devastating flood came they perished. Jesus said that the same thing will happen when he comes again in glory. Those walking in darkness will perish, while those walking in the light of the Lord will be saved.

What are we to do? Stay awake and be watchful for the Son of Man will come when he is least expected. This coming can be our personal death or the final coming of Jesus. To stay awake and be watchful is another way of saying to follow and live the way of the Lord consciously and intentionally, not in fear but in readiness. For being with the Lord in fact now will insure that we will be with the Lord eternally through the moment of death.

As we prepare to celebrate the commemoration of Jesus’ first coming in the flesh through human birth, we are called to remember that Jesus is coming to us in the present moment and he will come again in a final moment. To commemorate one—Christmas—but not living in the light for the other two will mean that we did not act as the children of light but as children of darkness.

Reading 2: Paul continues the theme of light. There are two parts of focus. The first part:  “Our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith.” How often do we think of our salvation? Are we prepared for death, which could come as a thief in the night?

The second part: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, the way we prepare for our ultimate salvation is twofold: cast off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Cast off the deeds of habitual sin, serious mortal sin as well as lesser sins. Sin is the world of darkness. Sharing in the life of Christ in truth and love is the world of light and salvation.

To put on the Lord Jesus means do not conform ourselves to this generation of darkness but be transformed by the renewal of our minds, choosing what is the will of God, what is good, perfect and pleasing to God.  In this way we can prepare for the celebration of Christmas and for the coming of Jesus at death or at the end of the world.

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