Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent Cycle A

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

The Greatest Homecoming of All Time

As the month of December approaches many schools will have banners welcoming the homecoming of their alumni or former students. Some of these banners will have the words "grand homecoming" for those who do this twenty-five years or fifty years after their graduation from that school. And today the Church wants us to celebrate the greatest homecoming of all time, the grandest of all homecomings, the homecoming of Jesus the Christ to our planet earth.

Today we begin the new liturgical year, Cycle A, with the first Sunday of Advent. The Sundays of Advent are a preparation for Christmas. But they are also a preparation for Jesus' second coming. And in this first Sunday of all the Sundays of Advent the Church prepares us for that second coming.

In the first reading we are told what will happen when Jesus comes back physically on earth. Jerusalem shall be the center again of pilgrimage for all the nations. From there Jesus will rule the earth. He will judge the nations from that city. This will be the time when people "shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." There shall be no more wars. Peace and prosperity, the real kind, will be the experience of all peoples.

In the second reading Paul the Apostle tells us that this time is getting nearer and nearer. He wrote, ". . . our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand." Therefore he tells us the proper attitude we need to have as this day of Jesus' homecoming becomes nearer and nearer to us. "Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh."

In the Gospel we are told by Jesus himself the suddenness of his second coming to us. He said it will be like in the days of Noah, when people were totally unprepared although Noah had preached to them for many years that disaster was coming. And so our Lord advised us, "Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." He himself said that he will come like a thief, "at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

And if we ask Jesus why his coming is so sudden, he will tell us that this is because he has been longing for this coming since the time he left planet Earth physically on Ascension Day. Even now as he sits at the right hand of God interceding for us his thoughts are on the day when he will be with us again physically. Anytime that his heavenly Father tells him he can come back to us physically, he will immediately come back to us.

That is why the Church has been warning us through so many hundreds of years through the readings in this first Sunday of Advent. The future fact is that Jesus is coming back and this coming is very sudden.

Jesus desires with all his heart to come back to us because he has only done one part of his mission when he was on earth. And that was to clean us from our sins, to redeem us from slavery to Satan and to the world and to our flesh. The other part, actually living with us physically and ruling us as foretold by the prophets, has not yet been accomplished. This he will do when he comes back physically. This he desires with all his heart to do. That is why he is most eagerly desiring to come back to us.

It is like an Overseas Filipino Worker. He has gone abroad to earn some money to educate his children and build a house where he and his wife could live in comfort. The first part has been done. He has already accumulated the necessary amount and sent it to his wife for the education of their children and for building their house. All that he needs to do now is to come home and make his dream a reality. This is what preoccupies his mind, to come home and be with his wife and children. He knows it will be a most joyous occasion when they are together again. The only difference is that with the Overseas Filipino Worker his coming home is more or less known, that is, at the end of his contract with his foreign employer. But with Jesus there is no such contract, he can come anytime.

Jesus wants to come to us soon. He wants to be happily living with us, his friends who have listened to his words, who have loved him even when we have not seen him physically. This is what preoccupies his mind. He is doing everything to hasten this day of his return.

And he has told us through his friend Peter to help him hasten this day of his return to us. Peter wrote to us, "Since everything is to be destroyed in this way (that is, when Jesus comes back), what sort of men must you not be! How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming of the day of God and trying to hasten it" (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Jesus had a book written specifically about his second coming to us, the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. In this book he pours out his desire to come to us soon. He says in that book, "Yes, I am coming soon!" (Revelation 22:20). These are the last words of Jesus in the Bible. If we are friends of Jesus, if we love him, we can feel the eagerness Jesus feels today to come to us. Let us not disappoint him. Let us follow the advice of his friend Peter, let us hasten that day when Jesus comes to live with us physically again and to rule our hearts and minds directly now through his Spirit, so that as the first reading says, there will be no more wars.

For our prayer let us use the words in the book of Revelation which was the response of the writer John when he heard those last words of Jesus in the Bible that he was coming soon.

Let us bow our heads in prayer. Lord Jesus, you want to come back to us physically again. We know this through your words in the Bible and in the teachings of your Church. Together with the writer John we say, Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

- - - - - - - - - -

Note for the readers:

The Mass readings are from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). This is where our Lectionary gets the readings.

NAB stands for New American Bible (before it was revised). This is the translation I use. Unless otherwise stated the text I use is from this translation.

AV stands for Authorized Version of the Bible. It is more commonly referred to as the King James Bible. It is the version most used in English literature, therefore it is the one known more by the English speaking world.

No comments:

Post a Comment