Sunday Reflection: 1st Sunday of Advent, Cycle C
1st Reading Jeremiah 33:14-16
2nd Reading 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Gospel Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
This Sunday, we begin a new Liturgical Year. The Season of Advent reminds us of two things: first, the First Coming of Jesus or the Incarnation of God. Second, it reminds us also of Christ return in glory to judge the living and the dead or the Final Judgment. These two are very important to think about, the first with gratitude and the second with eager hope.
The Prophet Jeremiah in our 1st Reading reminds us of God’s promise of salvation that will be fulfilled in Jesus. Jeremiah says, “In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land.” He is the just shoot that will come from the House of David that will bring about the justice of God, that will be manifested in His self-offering on the Cross.
Our Gospel, on the other hand, exhorts us to be faithful in the midst of all the catastrophes that will come. A Christian is one who is not afraid of what is ahead because he knows very well that is a Just Judge and a merciful God. However, just and merciful that He is, calls each one of us to conduct ourselves well. He reminds us to “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” We have to be ready always for His coming, knowing not the time. So, Jesus challenges us to be vigilant and prayerful. These two are inseparable. A vigilant person is a prayerful person, always living out the call of St. Paul to pray unceasingly. And to be a prayerful person is to be always vigilant for the coming of the Lord, like the five virgins who waited for the coming of the Bridegroom bringing with them an extra oil.
Advent, then, is a challenging season. It challenges us to be grateful for all the gift that God has bestowed on us, giving us His own Son to be our salvation and peace, through whom also flows His justice and mercy. It also confronts us of our impatience. People of today, with the advancement of technology that made many things easy and fast, does not know anymore how to wait. Waiting makes us impatient and intolerant with God, others, and ourselves. But God continues to teach us that, “good things happen to those who wait.” St. Paul says, “by hope we are saved.” Hope fueled by faith and sustained by love will bring about salvation. No matter how difficult life can be, when we put our hope in God, we will always find things easier. Hope does not take out the pain and difficulties, but it pushes us to trust not ourselves, but to Him who made us and loved us.
St. Paul reminds us, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.”