JER 33:14-16; 1 THES 3:12-4:2; LK 21:25-28, 34-36
The word "advent" comes from Latin, advenio meaning "the coming". It begins with a call to vigilance. Scripture passages refer to the invitation, for instance Matthew says, Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42). Mark 13 says, “Be watchful! Be alert!” (Mark 13:33a). Luke says, “Be vigilant at all times and pray.” (Luke 21:36a). These passages call us to vigilance and anticipation of the Lord's coming. We should be prepared and should never be caught unawares.
This first week of Advent offers the focus for the second coming of Christ. It tells us in clear terms that Jesus will return again in all power and splendour and glory to judge the living and the dead. As Catholics, we profess this fact every Sunday at the Creed. Although Christmas is the celebration of the first coming of Jesus in the flesh, it is also a feast of the acknowledgement of His glorious coming at the end of time.
For those living in this Isles, there is so much economic growth but at the same time, there is unprecedented spiritual decline. It is understandable if argues that spiritual decline goes with financial fortune, or economic success. Both dwell together on one side of the spiritual seesaw. It is easier to forget God when one is very comfortable and when life is seen only from the perspective of economic or financial boom. We love the gifts but we forget God, the giver and provider of affluence or wealth. In this situation money or wealth becomes a god of its own. Jesus, seeing this danger warns us to stay awake and watch ourselves so that we don't get carried away by lives of debauchery and drunkenness and cares of this life.
Advent is the time to reflect on who we really are and the way we achieve the happiness that we seek. While thinking about the fact that Santa is coming to town, it might be good to think more about Jesus coming into the town and into our hearts. Peace and happiness is what Jesus brings with him. How prepared are we for the second coming of Christ? Are we preparing with the same favour as we prepare for our greatest passion? Are we awake and attentive to the many ways that God speaks to us? In today's mass, Jesus challenges us to do two things; to be realistic about the way the world is going, and at the same time not lose hope in the future. Our present reality appears to be that we see the endless evil in our lives and in the world and we tend to see no reason for hoping. Jesus wants us to see a future that is librating. Advent tells us not to sleep walk into the future. Let us pray, Lord, as Advent begins, help me to put my eyes on You. Help me to open my ears to Your voice. And help me to open my heart to Your glorious presence. May I be attentive to You in every way You desire to come to me. Jesus, I trust in You.