1st Sunday of Advent (year-A)
These days you will hear people telling all kinds of funny stories and information about the end
of the world and also the second coming of Christ! In 1988 Edgar Whisenant, a NASA engineer,
used his mathematical skills to set a date for the return of Jesus. He wrote a book called, 88
Reasons Why the Rapture Will Take Place in 1988. In the same year Rev. Colin Deal published a
book titled Christ Returns By 1988 – 101 Reasons Why. You many remember the movie Omega
Code. This was an independent movie funded by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest
Evangelical Christian TV network in the U.S. It was promoted by a team of 2,400 U.S.
Evangelical pastors. In October, 2005 another movie, Left Behind, was released and shown in all
Evangelical Christian parishes. Today is December , 2019. Christ did not appear, the rapture did
not show up, the world did not end and we are gathered here for our regular worship. Today I
have a question for you. Which comes first; the end of your life or the end of the world? Today’s
readings remind us that whichever comes first we should be well prepared and always ready to
meet Jesus at all times.
As Catholics our New Year of worship begins today with the season of Advent. The word
Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” During this season of advent, we celebrate two things. The
birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King
in his Second Advent! Therefore, Advent is far more than simply commemorating a 2,000 year
old event in history. It is time preparing ourselves being with the savior in the future. In this
double focus on past and future, we proclaim that Christ has come, that He is present in the
world today, and that He will come again in power.
We live between the first coming and the second coming of Jesus. Why does the Church give
emphasis to the first coming and the second coming of Jesus? Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem, his
death and resurrection are not yet the final victory of evil. The final victory over evil will take
place when Jesus comes again the second time as judge. The Second Coming of Jesus will
complete what Jesus began with his birth in Bethlehem, his death and resurrection. It will bring
the fullness of salvation to the world. God is present with us throughout all of history but at the
Second Coming of Jesus all of history will be seen as leading to God’s final purpose and goal.
We await a time that Isaiah, and Jesus, and Paul describe as a time of judgment: a time when
accounts are settled – not always comfortably – but always rightly -a time when two will be in the
field; one will be taken and one will be left. The Lord is coming and what we as Catholics must
do? We are to be watchful, outward-looking rather than self absorbed. We are to be “on the
lookout” for the Lord coming to us in so many ways: we are to watch for him in prayer, in
worship around this altar, in listening to his word, in our daily relationships and responsibilities.
There’s a little four-line verse: Yesterday is history/Tomorrow is a mystery/Today is a gift/that’s
why we call it the present.” Time is a marvelous “present” which God keeps giving us. How are
we using it? Are we so totally distracted with our long-range plans that we miss Christ and others
in the present? Have you heard people saying “I don’t know where the time goes” and “Is
another Christmas here already?” As Catholics, we do know where the time goes, and where it
comes from, and what it’s for. There should be meaning to what is happening and that meaning
is given by Jesus Christ. In this beautiful season of Advent, let’s not get hectic.
The end of our world! Most of us don’t stop to think that our world will end. And hardly
anybody believes that it will end in our lifetime. This past week I heard the story of a young man
up north. He was a young man with so much of ambition and good dreams. He started out in his
pretty Mustang to reach his family almost 800 miles away to celebrate thanksgiving with his
parents. On his way home he was dreaming; dreaming about the upcoming wedding, future wife,
children, family, job and so forth. But just three miles away from his parents house, he had an
accident and he could not make home. Accidents happen a lot. Isn’t it? Jesus says I am knocking
on the door of every heart; I don’t want anyone to perish. The Lord is inviting everyone to be
purified before it is too late. Death may come anytime without warning, it does not choose age,
sex or race, it comes to sinners and to just, no one can escape from it. Prepare yourself daily and
protect your soul, close your doors to evil and
‘To be or not to be’ a struggle all of us go through! Should I give my life totally and completely
to God? It is a daily resistance all of us experience. An affluent young man had that struggle. The
Lord had been inviting him to walk with Him for a while. But he was resisting. And then one day
as he was sitting in the garden pondering that question and then he heard a clear voice inviting
“Take up and read.”, “Take up and read.” He took a Bible that was found there and opened the
passage. And He found the second reading for the mass today! And it read:
“Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh”.
These words spoke so personally and powerfully to St. Augustine on his path to becoming one of
the greatest Fathers of the Church and most influential biblical scholars of all time. Augustine
didn’t just discover the treasure of the Bible for himself when he followed God’s prompting to
take up and read—he helped countless Christians over the millennia. May this passage speak to
you as we begin this New Year and season of grace! Today we just lit the light on the Advent
wreath! Sin is equal to darkness and Jesus is equal to light. What part of my life most needs the
light of Christ? It is not because the light is unwilling to come but because we are unwilling to
receive it, we are resisting it. As the cloud dim the sun light so the sins of cloud dim the light of
Christ in our lives”. During this season, let’s approach the sacrament of confession, the
celebration of Eucharist and the daily reflection of the word of God as means of welcoming the
light of Christ into our life.