I Sunday of Advent – Homily
Saint Louis King of France Parish – Memphis
Rev. Fr. Carlos Donato, MDiv
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!
Dear brothers and sisters, today we start the new liturgical year, the Year of Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ 2019, year C. During this year we will be listening to the Gospel according to Saint Luke. The Evangelist Luke was disciple of Paul, and a doctor. His Greek is one of the best in the New Testament’s book. He probably had some contact to Mary, while she was in Saint’s John house in Ephesus because he has an accurate narrative of Jesus’s childhood. Only Mary could give such information to him. In fact, Luke starts his Gospel with the Temple’s liturgy. At the time of the sacrifice of the temple. Therefore, he is picture as the bull with wings. The bull is a symbol of the Jewish’s liturgical activities on the Temple.
During the whole year Luke will guide us catechetically in order that we can answer the question: who is Jesus? I wish that at the end of this new liturgical year we can say together as a community of faith and without fear that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord.
Today as well we start our preparation to Christmas. During the four weeks of the advent season we, as the people of God, are calling to prepare ourselves to the second and first coming of Jesus. The two first weeks we will be preparing ourselves to the second coming of Jesus when He will be coming in glory to Judge the living and the dead. During the third and fourth week we will prepper our souls for the mystery of Incarnation. God that wants to be like us in all things but sin.
The symbols of this season are the purple color of the vestments who invites us to be moderate in happiness because the messiah is not yet in our midst. We are vigilant and waiting for him. Second, is the Advent Wreath. The tradition to prepare the Advent wreath starts in the Germany where families in their houses each Sunday of Advent lighted a candle that symbolizes one more week close to Christmas day.
Liturgically speaking the Advent’s candles on the Wreath represent each one of them a thousand year. They help us to visualize that each Sunday we advance a thousand of years since creation to incarnation. Each week the promises and prophesies are becoming true. God soon will be Emmanuel which means God is present in our midst. Each Sunday while we are clamming “O come, o Come Emmanuel” and one candle is lighted more close we are to contemplate God made flash.
On this first Sunday of Advent we heard God’s promise of liberty to the exiled people: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah” (Jer. 33). The promise made is the incarnation of The Eternal Word. God. Through the mystery of Incarnation we will be send free from the slavery of sin and death. “God will become man, so man can be divine” (Saint John Chrysostom). Through the just shoot raised up for David God will provide peace and harmony to us. The Messiah, the Prince of Peace will rule with justice. He justice is just therefore, we want his kingdom and kingship for us. “in those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure this is what they shall call her ‘The Lord our Justice’” (Jer 33).
Today’s Gospel, Jesus is presenting to us the end of times. Sign in the sky and on earth will be the preamble of his second Coming. Contrary to his first coming in the silent of the night on a humble place having as witness Mary, joseph and some shepherds, now Jesus is coming in Glory the glory that belongs to him since before the beginning of the world. His divinity that was hidden in his incarnation, on his first coming, now is reviled in all it splendor. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Lk 21).
Our Savior also alerts us to be prepared to meet him. Many things can make us drowsy while we are waiting for his coming. I must advise you against some of the Spiritual Drowsiness that are already present in our midst: First, sin which makes us vulnerable and incapable to have a good relationship with God causing the death of our soul. Second, Laziness which is the mother of all sins. If we become lazing we are opening the doors of our souls to all kind of sinful things. Third, greed or avarice the immoderate desire to have all things. All things I desire and they are mine and they must be only for myself. This felling and sin makes us be egoist and selfish consequently far away from God’s kingdom. Fourth, hedonism in which the human person has not any dignity whatsoever. People become objects of selfish pleasure and desires from others. The mutual self-donation gives place to a selfish accomplishment of disordered desires. The human being made God’s image becomes disposable simple pleasure makers. I repeat to you Jesus’ word: “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” (Lk 21).
We must be prepare for the day of the second coming of Jesus. There will be not a precious notice. Many had tried to set up a date. It was scheduled to 2000, then postponed to 2012 and finally to 2015 but Jesus did not get the memo from that institutions that clam to have his executive agenda. Brethren, let us not be foolish we do not know when but we are already worrying by our Lord that he will come. “For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth be vigilant at all the time” (Lk 21). And I repeat again be vigilant. I exhort you brethren let us have our lamp barning with the oil of good deeds and faith. “Pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21). Who will come to judge the living and the dead.