First Sunday of Advent

12-01-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

In our lives we encounter different types of preparation because we are waiting for someone to come or something to happen into our lives. We spend a lot of money and energy for these preparations. For example, preparing a party, a preparation for our own career or for our own wedding and for the birth of a baby. Another one is preparation for moving into another house or for building a new home or for retirement and many more. We are so very excited about these to come or to happen.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. In our gospel, today, it speaks about watchfulness and preparation on our part. Right from the 4th Century Christians have had this special time of preparation towards Christmas, and they called it, adventus. In Latin, it simply means, 'coming'. Like the season of Lent (before Easter) traditionally this season also was observed as a time of fasting and prayer (before Christmas). That is why, much like the season of Lent, you can see the priest and deacon wearing violet during liturgical celebrations, and in some part of the world even weddings are not officiated in church during this season. The four Sundays of Advent revolve around similar themes: coming of Jesus and waiting.

The readings of today help us to prepare ourselves for this season of Advent. The coming of Jesus and its significance is expressed in the great vision from Isaiah which is our First Reading for today where all nations will come to the Mountain of the Lord. The prophet shows the path of peace. The Gospel reminds us of the second coming of our Lord and the authority with which he will come as a king and a judge. It presents us with the challenge of preparing for the coming of Christ now and at the end of history. But Jesus warns us against complacency in being prepared for the coming of the Lord. In the second reading Paul tells the Romans reminds us that salvation is nearer to us now and we are to be prepared to receive him. They have to emerge from darkness and come to the light.

The season of advent invites us to contemplate the action of God in our own lives and the history of redemption. It is a time to keep our hearts open to recognize the visit of our God from on high. The longing that Prophet Isaiah expresses in the first reading of today are indeed fulfilled in our own times