Homily: First Sunday of Advent Year B Be watchful!

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Homily First Sunday of Advent Year B

 

Reading 1: The reading begins with acknowledging God as Our Father and Redeemer.  It ends with once more with recognizing God as Father and Creator. We are the work of his hands. Then Isaiah admits our need for a redeemer. We have sinned and wandered far from the Lord. Our hearts are hardened like polluted rags. He cries for God to rend the heavens and come down to save us.  Bring about awesome deeds once more.

 

As we begin this Advent season, we are reminded that even though Jesus has come and saved us, we still sin and stray from the Lord. Even though God took on our flesh, we still stray from him. As he came before, we are asking Jesus to come in a fresh new way, so that our hearts can turn more fully to him.

 

What is the condition that the prophet indicates on our part? Would that he might meet us doing right; that we were mindful of him in all our ways. Our preparation for the celebration of Christmas during the next twenty-seven days is not only to acknowledge Jesus’ first coming into the world, not only to be aware of his promise to come again at the end of time, but to be expectant and attentive to his coming in the present moment.  He came to save, now he comes to unite us more intimately with himself in love. But if our hearts are full of unnecessary distractions, unrepentant sin, then how can he find a place for himself in us?

 

Gospel: Advent is a time to be watchful and alert, not in fear but in expectant hope. The Lord desires to come in a fresh new way into our heart to keep his life in us renewed.  Will he find us open and expectant? Sometimes we live our lives in a state of disarray, our hearts in shambles, cluttered by distracting habits.

 

 It is like a college student, who parties with friends and whose apartment is in shambles with trash, dirty dishes, etc. Would he want his parents to come unexpectedly and see all of this? Not really. Yet, we are at times spiritually living in the midst of accumulated trash. What would Jesus find if he comes unexpectedly? 

 

On the other hand, if the college student kept his apartment clean and uncluttered, it won’t matter when his parents came. Advent is a time to do some fall cleaning in our lives.

 

We heard last Sunday what we did to the least we did to Jesus. He comes and came in his word which we hear in every Mass. He comes in the Eucharist. He comes with his grace at different moments of our lives to sustain and renew us. He comes in the silence of our hearts as we spend time in prayer.

 

How we recognize and respond to his present coming will determine how will we respond to his ultimate coming. As we are watchful and responsive in the present moment to his coming in a variety of ways, we will be alert and ready when he comes in glory either at the moment of our death or at the end of time. If children are excited in anticipation of Santa Clause with his gifts, should we not be excited in anticipation of Jesus with his gift of eternal life and glory. Watch and be alert.

 

Reading 2: Why does the Church choose this reading as we begin a new season of grace? We are being reminded of the many blessings we have received. Because we have fellowship with Jesus we have been enriched with all the spiritual gifts we need. God has given us grace upon grace so that we may be found worthy when he comes.  Advent is that time to renew our awareness of the journey we are on—a journey to the Lord. It is time once more to put first things first. It is a time to be attentive to the various ways Jesus is coming in the present moment, so that we will not miss the grace of his final coming in our lives.

 

How? By being attentive to the word of God, to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, uncluttering our lives of sin, of being attentive to the times we can exercise the spiritual and corporeal works of mercy. 

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