Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Mt. 24:37-44
Waiting, watching and preparing: are the three key words that sum up best, the Advent Season that we begin today. A true story is told about Colonel Abraham Davenport, Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives back in 1780. One day, while the House was in session, the sky of Hartford suddenly grew dark and gloomy. Some of the representatives looked out and thought that was a sign that the end of the world had come. Uproar ensued with the representatives calling for immediate adjournment. But Davenport rose and said, “Gentlemen, the Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought.” Candles were brought and the session continued. We too need to choose to be found doing our duty as Christian when the Lord comes, watching and waiting. Advent is about waiting for fulfilment of Isaiah’s vision of all the nations transforming their weapons of war into tools of cultivation and harvesting for their people; a time anticipating peace and joy.
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. Paul in the second reading suggests that we prepare ourselves through conversion: throwing “off the works of darkness and putting on the armor of light;” putting “on the Lord Jesus Christ, and making no provision for the desires of the flesh”. The readings underline two basic Advent themes: 1) anticipation and hope for the second coming of our Lord and Savoir, 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 progressively 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 dispels the darkness of our lives and brings us newness, life and hope. 2) The second theme symbolized by the colour purple is conversion and renewal in preparing a suitable place to welcome our Savoir in our hearts. Conversion is 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 in three points: 1) Advent is a season of watching and 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. 1) But above all it is a season of spiritual preparation to receive Christ in our hearts by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
©2017 John S. Mbinda