1st Sunday Of Advent Year A
Theme of the week: Acknowledge our sinful ways; abandon them. Let us put on righteousness, and always be prepared for the Coming of Christ.
For those of us who profess to be Christians; who come to church every week; may be even serve tirelessly in church ministries, let us ask ourselves this question: Am I complacent in my faith? Do I assume that my salvation is assured? If so, let this week’s Scripture serve as a walk-up call for all of us. As we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas; as we prepare for the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time; let us reflect honestly on our daily thoughts and actions.
Ever since the dawn of time, there have always been wars – not just between nations, but also between social groups, families, and individuals. Even within Christian communities, there can be disaccord among the members – disagreement on procedural matters, policy matters, and even Christian teachings. What are the disaccords of my life? Even as I profess my faith in Jesus Christ, have I been Christ to others? Have I bore grudges and unhappiness towards those I disagree with? If misfortune befalls upon an enemy of mine, do I lend him my compassion, or do I secretly rejoice? In truth, even as we proclaim Christ on our lips, Christ is far from our hearts. The first reading describes the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time as an age of eternal peace, where “nation shall not lift up sword against nation” (verse 4). The precondition for this is for all people of God to come to “the mountain of the Lord’s house” (verse 2) to seek His teachings, for these wars would not have come about if all people live by God’s teachings.
As part of our reflection on our daily thoughts and actions, let us reflect on the sins of the flesh – substance abuse, gambling, cheating, and disordered sexual desires such as pornography, masturbation and contraception. In my complacency in faith, have I conveniently ignored these transgressions of mine? The Second Reading warns us that “salvation is nearer to us” with each passing day (verse 2). To prepare for His glorious coming, verse 12-13 urge us to live holy lives and give up sinful habits and behaviours. In reference to an earlier passage where Paul urges his followers to abandon the way of the flesh to pursue the way of the Spirit (Rom 8:3-9), verse 14 equate righteous living as not gratifying the desire of the flesh (verse 14). As we prepare to welcome the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas, with God’s grace, let us abandon these ways of the flesh and put on righteousness.
In the Gospel this week, Jesus urges us to be ready at all times. We recall the story of the great flood at Noah’s times, where people were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” right up to the day they were destroyed (verse 38). Let this be our wake-up call – for we could be them, complacent in our faith. We must be ready at all times, for we do not know when the day will come, when we will be put to account the deeds of our lives. For “if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into” (verse 43). Be asleep no more, Paul urges in the Second Reading. “It is now the moment for you to wake from sleep” (Second Reading, verse 11).
To conclude our reflection, let us ask ourselves: am I ready if my time on earth runs out today? If not, what changes would I make to my life right now? With God’s grace, let us make the changes today and be always prepared. May the Holy Spirit be with us.