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Homily for first Sunday of advent C

30 Nov 2018, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Today we begin the season of Advent, the season of special preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. The word advent is from the Latin word adventus, meaning coming. The season of advent is of expectation, anticipation, and waiting in hope.

Our liturgy of the word today is interesting, very appropriate for the beginning of this beautiful season.

In our first reading, Jeremiah is futuristic; he tells of what God plans to do, how he plans to fulfill the promise he made to the house of Israel by making a branch grow for David. This prophecy was very reassuring to Israel’s house; they needed that reassurance because they were broken at the time. They lived in a world where there seemed to be no hope, a world where they watched their future been enslaved, and Jerusalem destroyed. At this time, the prophet Jeremiah reminded the people that God’s promise to raise a savior from David’s house will be fulfilled. The promise is about Christmas, about the coming of the messiah, and the reason for this season; waiting in hope.

Brethren, we are all part of this waiting. And as we wait, many Christians may focus their attention on the magi, the crib and the birth of Christ. Yes; that is what the season is all about, to prepare to commemorate the birth of Christ at Christmas. But this waiting may be dangerous, some may wait to the point of forgetting what they are waiting for. Since the Church calls us to special spiritual preparation this season to commemorate our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth at Christmas, we must keep in mind that our waiting is not for baby Jesus. We prepare at this season to commemorate the mystery of the incarnation in anticipation of his second coming. This waiting period may be disappointing for those who want to see Jesus been born again in a megi and not in their hearts. Some others may be tired of waiting, but waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting.

While Jeremiah tells us about how God will fulfill his promise, Paul, in our second reading and the evangelist Luke in our gospel passage, reminds us that the promise is fulfilled already. Therefore, the season of Advent is not a time to prepare for the fulfillment of God’s promise but to commemorate the fulfillment of the promise in the incarnation of Christ.

The faithfulness of God, therefore, challenges us to live a life worthy of our calling as Christians, to let our hearts be confirmed in holiness as St. Paul prays; that we may be blameless in the sight of God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

As we begin the season of advent in preparation to celebrate Christmas, we are encouraged to be the focus, not to let the social celebration of this great mystery lead us away from the truth. He says; Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that will happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of man.

The season of advent is another opportunity the Church offers us to re-examine our lives and make amends, especially. We are called to fast and pray in preparation to celebrate Christmas in the purity of heart and joy of the Lord. It is a call to let the faithfulness of God change our unfaithfulness, to let the commemoration of the mystery of the incarnation open the eyes of our faith to see how much God loves us. We cannot sleep-walk into God’s presence, but learn to stay awake in the spirit. Watch and pray, for no one knows the day.

May the grace of this season help us to celebrate Christmas in the purity of heart and lead us into the joyful presence of Christ the Lord when he comes with all his saints. Amen.

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