Saturday, December 15, 2007

First Sunday of Advent Year A

December 2: First Sunday of Advent Year A
Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Mt. 24:37-44

The Advent season that we begin today is a season of waiting, watching and preparing. The prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading sets the tone. Isaiah sees in a vision all the nations coming to the mountain of the Lord, where the Lord teaches his ways to the nations, so that they will no longer wage war against each other. That is what we are all waiting for: a time when nations will transform their weapons of war into tools of cultivation and harvesting for their people. In other words, Advent is a season of waiting with hope for a time when the Lord comes to bring peace, first in our hearts and in the world. We hope that “someday, someday there will be no wars.” In Advent we wait with hope for the coming of Christ, the prince of peace at Christmas. When we wait for someone important coming to our homes, we take time to clean up diligently. Since we wait for Christ at Christmas, our preparation is much more on the spiritual level. Both the Gospel and Paul’s Letter to the Romans give us some indications on how we are to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ through conversion and watchfulness.

The Gospel reading urges us to stay awake and to be ready "because the Son of Man is coming at an hour" we least expect. St. Paul in the second reading suggests that we prepare ourselves through conversion. The three readings of today underline two basic Advent themes: the first one is anticipation and hope for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, who brings peace into our hearts and in the world, symbolized by the green circular wreath. The circle points to the promise of eternal life. The 5 candles: three purple, one rose and one white in the canter are lit on each Sunday, with the white one being lit on Christmas Day. The lighting of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives, to bring us newness, life and hope. The second Advent theme symbolized by the colour purple is conversion and renewal in preparing a suitable place to welcome our Savior in our hearts. This conversion is also a call to be instruments of peace in the world, so that a kingdom of peace may come about; so that nations may no longer engage in wars; so that neighbours may talk of peace and not of war; so that God’s reconciling love may become a reality. Briefly we may sum up the message of this Sunday as follows: 1) The season of Advent is a season of waiting with hope for Christ, who brings peace into our hearts and in the world; 2) Advent is a time of looking forward with eagerness and anticipation for the joy of salvation that Christmas brings. 3) But above all it is a season of spiritual preparation to receive Christ in our hearts.

©2007 John M. Mbinda

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