Homily for the First Sunday of Advent, Year C 2018
Seasons come and go, but they don’t always leave us the same. They break into our routines, upset us, stretch us and then build us. In a way, we are all fruits of seasons. For instance, in winter, everything dies, and we tend to be melancholic. But spring comes and brings in colours that change our mood. This is true of liturgical seasons as it is true of nature’s seasons.
The season of Advent breaks into our routine. It calls us to pause, to reflect and be ready. The colour of the season speaks volumes of the season and of us. Violet or purple is the colour of royalty. It represents the future, the imagination. It inspires high ideals. It is the colour of hope, that fascinates and draws us out of ourselves in order to lead us to God.
The opening line of the First Reading from Jeremiah 33:14-16 speaks of this fascination. “See”, it says, “the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah”. This immediately begs the question, what shall we do or how shall we partake in the fulfilment of this promise?
To answer this question, it is important for us to reflect on who we are. First, we are God’s creatures. Second, He chose us from creation and made us His adopted sons and daughters through the waters of baptism. Third, He sends us on a journey, to represent Him in the world. We are royal people. We have royal blood running through us. For Our Father is our King.
This understanding informs the way and manner we are to prepare and partake in His promise. Discipline is our watch word. It demands that we free ourselves from all that holds us back from committing to God, so that we can be free for God. It is a matter of noblesse oblige. We can’t afford to do what we like. It means we must listen to our King, do what He asks of us.
This brings us to what Paul said in the Second reading from 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2 “Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you have learnt from us, and as you are already living it”. Notice the emphasis on “the Life that God wants”.
The question then is what is that life that God wants? The Psalmist in the Responsorial Psalm tells us it is about lifting our lives to God, Our Lord. Lord here is Dominus which means, the One who has dominion over every aspect of our lives. That is, God must be our priority. He must reign in our family, take prominence in our marriage, inform our choices etc.
It is a hard call, but it is the only path to the freedom He promised. For the coming of Christ, which is the fulfilment of this promise, expects us to let go of our ways and embrace God’s Way, Christ, Dominus. We appreciate this better when we read the Gospel Reading from Luke 21:25-28, 34-36, “…men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world”.
This reveals there are no neutral grounds in the scheme of things. It is either men await Christ coming and dominion and then be free of fear or they reject Christ and then wait to die of fear. This is the heart of Advent. It calls us to await Christ coming. And the candle we light today is to burn brightly to remind us to hope for His coming by praying and doing what God wants.
Fr. Francis Afu