FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT Year B: Homily by Fr. Matthias Lusembo

THEME: LET US BE VIGILANT

Objective: That we be attentive to every coming of the Lord.

We are starting the season of Advent. Advent has a twofold purpose, for it is a time of preparation for Christmas, in which the First Coming of Christ to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. With the beginning of Advent is, too, the beginning of the new liturgical year (2021). This year we use Year B Sunday readings.

The Gospel of this first Sunday of Advent (Mk 13:33-37), like the rest of the readings of Advent, focuses on Vigilance, calling us to pay attention to every coming of Jesus and let Him govern our consciences.

The pagans used the word Advent to mean the coming of their god or King. We Christians use it to mean the coming of Christ into our lives to rule our lives as our King. We use it also to mean the period of preparation of our souls for His coming. This is the gist of preparation for Christmas. Christmas trees, parties and gifts are only symbols of Christ’s coming into our hearts.

Christ was born already, but He has not yet been enthroned in every heart. That is why we still have injustices, quarrels, criminal activities, hatred, violence, incest, abortions, rape, misuse of freedom and democracy, addiction to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and all kinds of immorality. Who could have imagined that even civilized people could upload porn on the internet for people to see!  Christ comes to give us an opportunity to repent and be reconciled to God and to one another in order to live holy and peaceful lives. Jesus wants those who lost their human dignity to regain it.

Christ teaches self-control and establishment of peace through peaceful means. That is to say through conversion of heart from immorality, hatred, injustices, violence, wars, to forgiveness, prayer, charitable works and love, even of enemies. This is what brings permanent peace in hearts, families and communities. People need to collaborate and practice Christ’s message.

Unfortunately, not all people see this fact and welcome Christ’s change immediately. Some keep procrastinating their penance, although they do not know when they are going to die.

In Today’s Gospel (Mk 13:33-37), Christ warns us that He comes unexpectedly. Christ comes to us through preachers, through the Holy Eucharist, through penance, through the needy, through the good people who advise us and through direct inspiration. He comes to us through our neighbors, spouses, children and co-workers.

Let us be vigilant to welcome Him at any time, in whatever situation and in whatever form He comes and let Him govern our hearts, so that we may not lament like the Israelites who had been exiled due to their refusal to obey God, as we have heard during the first reading (Isaiah 63:16-19).

The last and unknown time Jesus is going to come to each one of us is when he will come to take us from this life to the next.

Let us remain vigilant by keeping our consciences clean; by obeying His commandments; by dedicating ourselves to prayer and fasting; by helping Jesus in the needy and by receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist.