First Sunday of Advent – B

28-30 November 2014

Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič

Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

On this First Sunday of Advent we begin a new liturgical year and for the next four weeks we will be preparing ourselves spiritually for the upcoming Christmas season.

Isaiah. Many of the readings for the liturgies of the Advent season are taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah and today we read his great prayer to the Lord: Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down. The prophet expresses the sincere desire of all those who believe in God and wish to encounter him. He realizes that God is above, in heaven, so far above us due to his holiness and sanctity, and hence there exists a great gap between the Lord and mankind. Mankind has distanced itself from the Creator and Father of all, due to human sinfulness and now it is important, indeed fundamental, that the Lord open the heavens and come to save us, for we are incapable of saving ourselves. The sign that the Lord truly wants to be united with humanity is seen in the fact that he did come down from heaven and took upon himself human form in the person of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus the Messiah. Through faith, we know that God has responded to the cry of Isaiah, of all the prophets and holy men and women who throughout the centuries lifted up their prayers for the arrival of the Promised One of the Lord, the Messiah. God’s saving work has found its fulfilment in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who reminds us that we must be watchful and be alert always! These two words in their verb forms are the code phrase or special message for Advent. They are synonyms which stress the importance of being attentive and vigilant in our spiritual lives.

This special message could be a challenging sms message or tweet to send to someone during the Advent season, be watchful, be alert! It is an invitation to hope, to look forward to something wonderful, and to expect that special person, Our Lord Jesus Christ and his arrival into our lives, which will make us very happy and bring us lasting peace. It is also an invitation to awareness and to keep the faith, that despite all the difficulties of our lives and the tendency to think that God has forgotten us, we believe that God will never abandon or forget us, for he is our Father.

The Advent season is therefore a time of joyful expectation of the arrival of our Lord and God. There is no need for fear of the arrival of Christ into our lives, for he does not threaten us with his presence, but fulfills us by changing our hearts into truly human hearts capable of concrete acts of charity and generosity. Christ comes to save us and not to destroy us, therefore we are invited to be watchful, to be alert, always, so that we do not lose the opportunities to serve the Lord by serving others, to receive the Lord by receiving others, to welcome the Lord by welcoming others, especially those in need into our lives. By remaining watchful and alert, we shall always be ready for the Lord’s arrival into our lives, for he is constantly coming down from his heavenly throne into our lives and our hearts. We have to be prepared then, in order to be ready to receive him, for he is coming to stay.

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