On this 1st Sunday of Advent, the messages are simple yet powerful: “Awake from sleep!” and “Prepare…by asking the Father for His vision.”
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.
Today we begin the season of Advent and with this, we begin the new liturgical year. On this day, the church invites us to be ready and prepared to receive the Lord. Advent means waiting and we wait eagerly for someone we love, we care and we are ready to invest our time on him. He comes daily in the sacraments and in the Eucharist in a very special way as our food and drink to strengthen us and fill us with his grace. We also prepare ourselves to celebrate the feast of Jesus Christ born among us as a human person in a stable of Bethlehem to be one with us and remind ourselves of the great work of salvation began for us.
In the first Reading prophet, Isaiah says all nations will come to the Mountain of the Lord, and he shows the path of peace. In the second reading, Paul tells 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 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. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance.
We long for God to come and set the world right. During this season, we are preparing to welcome the coming of God among us as a human being, when Jesus was born at Bethlehem for our sake. This time of Advent is also a reminder of the need for us to prepare for that Second Coming and to be ready to welcome Jesus whenever he comes. In this way, God is seen as wielding authority over the nations and sitting in judgment between them. Thus the season of Advent tells us to prepare ourselves for his final coming and at the same time to be aware of his coming that takes place every day and at every moment of our lives. We live our daily lives constantly in the presence of the Lord who touches our lives at every moment. Hence, every experience, every person, every action and every word is a sacrament of God’s presence. He can be found there and responded to. When we live our lives constantly surrendering to his presence and seeing his hand in everything that happens to us, we will not be caught unawares.
A certain woman given much to piety had a dream. She was told that Jesus himself would come to her and she must prepare herself and wait for him. She got up very early, cleaned the house, kept things ready for the guest including a meal and waited for the Lord. As she was standing there with expectation a beggar woman came asking for food. The woman was annoyed and chased her out saying I am waiting for an important guest and come another day and I will help you. Then her neighbor came to her and asked for some urgent help and she refused saying she was busy as she was waiting for an important guest. Then a schoolboy came to her asking for some help as he was not able to get the necessary books and she refused. The day went on. Several people turned up at the gate for help or request of some kind or other and Jesus did not come. Sadly, she went to sleep that night and she had a dream. In her dream, the Lord came again and she began to complain to him telling how he had let her down. Jesus told her, “My friend, I came to you several times and you refused to recognize me. I was the beggar woman who was hungry, I was the neighbor who needed the help, and I was the school boy who needed support. Whatever you do to the little of my brothers you do it to me.”