Saturday, 30 November 2019

First Sunday of Advent: Year- A
First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5: The Lord gathers all nations together into the eternal peace of God’s kingdom.
Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14: Our salvation is near.
The Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44: Stay awake so that you will be ready.
We are starting today a New Year of Worship. We shall go again through the various times of the Year of the Church:
Ordinary time of the Year.
We do not notice the growth of our children, plants, flowers, trees etc every day. Yet there is a growth and development each moment of our lives.
The church wants us to grow, day after day, year after year and through the various times in the Year of Worship.
We don’t grow by just remembering in the Year of the Church, we can grow spiritually:
·       By re-living them within us year after year
·       By really getting ready for the coming of Christ at Advent time
·       By really having Christ born in our souls at Christmas
·       By really suffering and dying to sin with Christ during Lent time
·       By really rising to a new life with the Risen Jesus at Easter
·       By really receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
·       By actively and joyfully waiting for the final coming of Christ during the ordinary time of the year.
In a way, Christians ought to live these various times of the year of Worship at one and the same time throughout their life.
We should always be ready to welcome Christ since Christ keeps on coming to us in various ways day after day.
So we must live with Christ, walk with Christ, suffer with Christ, die with Christ and rise with Christ on the last day and every day of our life.
1.    The time of Advent:
There are two types of time in Greek: 1. Chronos (calendar time) 2.kairos (the fullness or grace filled time).
The word “Advent” means “coming” –who is coming? Not the historical Jesus as physical body, but the transformed Christ at the last day for judgement.
2.    There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ:
We can see God and reach God through Jesus Christ the mediator between God and the people. Jesus saved us by his just living life, dying to sin, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
At the beginning of this season of Advent, we should make ours the prayer which the Prophet puts in the lips of the people of Israel in today’s first reading:
a.    We must acknowledge our own sinfulness
b.    We must get convinced that sin is at the root of all our miseries
c.     There is nothing in us to make us deserve salvation
d.    The sad state to which our sins have reduced us came about because we neglected prayer
e.     Fallen as we find ourselves, we are tempted, like the Jews to complain to God
We are wrong. It is not God who abandoned us but we who abandoned God. His invitation to repent during this time of Advent is a fresh proof of his concern for us.
3.    Having acknowledged our sins, we should take a second step: confidently ask our redeemer to come to our rescue:
There is no way for a person to go back to God by himself or herself. So we must implore him to come and save us.  Isaiah expresses this beautifully when speaking to God on behalf of his people.
Is. 64, 8- “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hands.”
Is. 63, 16- “You, O Lord, our Father; our Redeemer is your ancient name.”
Is. 63, 17- “Return for the sake of your servant, the tribes of your inheritance.”
Is. 64, 1- “Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down.”
4.    While waiting for Jesus’ coming, we must praise him for all that he has already done to save us:
5.    We must never grow discouraged in our waiting for Christ’s coming:
Paul gives us the reason why: Because God will never fail us. (1 Cor. 1, 8).
6.    In our waiting for Christ, we must keep both: Watchful and Active:
This is the message of Luke in the passage of the Gospel we have read. In carrying out our task, Jesus warns us to be watchful, since the devil is at all times trying to convince us that there is yet ample time left in life to prepare for Jesus’ coming. eg. The parable of the ten virgins: The five wise virgins were watchful and the other five were foolish without watchfulness and preparation.
Thought: Advent means “coming”: We await the first coming of Jesus for which is continuously His saving deeds or works carried out till the end and the second coming of Christ at the end of our lives (death) for the salvation of our souls.
The presence of Jesus Christ will be found in three ways: When we are gathered as a community to pray with due preparation and repentance, to listen to the Word of God and act accordingly and doing the will of God and to take  part in the Eucharist.                                       

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