1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – A
As we enter the season Advent, the Church brings us once again into the journey of our redemption which is accomplished in Jesus Christ. In this sacred pilgrimage we are not passive spectators of past events in the life of Jesus but rather as active participants in the continuous unfolding of the Paschal Mystery of which we are part. As we turn the first page of the new liturgical calendar of the Church, there is an inner voice that reminds us about time.
The prophet Isaiah in the first reading prophesied about a time of peace when swords will become ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks and nation will not raise sword against nation. Isaiah exhorts that we walk in the light of the Lord then there will be peace! In the second reading St. Paul reminds us that our salvation is near at hand. This is the time to choose life rather than death, light rather than darkness in the way we live our lives. Like Isaiah, St. Paul exhorts that we should “put on the armour of light”.
The gospel this Sunday reminds us about the coming of the Son of Man! Jesus points to the time of Noah when people lived their lives without knowing the impending deluge. Except for the family of Noah in the ark, they all perished. Just like the deluge, the Lord will also come at unexpected time so He urges us to be awake at all time. Just like a thief can break into a house anytime, we have to be on guard!
From the moment we were born we entered into time and we are given a timeline to spend for the rest of our lives; some short, some longer depending on the mission entrusted to us. We say time is gold because it is up to us to turn time into something precious; time is of great value that we do not want to be wasted away. Given as a gift, time is an opportunity not just to develop ourselves into the being that God envisages us to be but to optimize our capacity as we contribute for the full development of humanity. As a gift, we have the corresponding responsibility to re-create it through our concrete acts of selfless giving. Since Christ entered into time He transforms history into a pilgrimage and continuous to incarnate Himself in the world He had created. During His lifetime, He re-created creation by giving Himself hence transforming the world into a sacred space for humanity to live in. “In the same way that Christ gives incarnate expression to divine self-surrender, so too must participation in Christ result in concrete acts of selfless giving” (Hans Urs von Balthasar). In appreciation for the time entrusted to us, the best way to spend it is to give away ourself as a gift to others just like Christ who poured out totally Himself as a gift to us.
To be awake is to break away from self-enclosure into self-surrender as expressed by the Church in her mission to outpour itself out for the world. Advent brings us into that readiness to face God when we share ourselves totally to others without reserve. When that happens then we are ready to meet, not Jesus the child who already came 2,000 years ago but the Immanuel who continues to indwell in us in the here and now of our existence. GET READY!