Advent: Season Of Great Expectation And Joyful Hope
Readings: (1st: Ish 63, 16-17. 64, 1-8: Ps 79, 2-119; 2nd: I Cor 1, 3-9; Gos: Mtt 13, 33-37)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and of a new liturgical calendar, year B. Remarkably, as we begin a new liturgical year today, we move from the gospel according to Matthew’s to the gospel according to Mark, the shortest of the four canonical Gospels.
Advent is a season of hope and a period during which as Christians we await the fulfillment of the promise of God through his prophets. In addition to being a season of hope, it is equally, a season of patience and prayer. During these four weeks, what are we expected to do? We are expected to prepare for the birth of the messiah. It suffices to note that while we prepare physically, the most important must be the spiritual preparation.
Our first reading from Isaiah is both a prophetic message, as well as a prayer of hope. Isaiah begins by acknowledging the greatness of God: “O Lord you are our Father, Our Redeemer is your ancient name…” Then, he makes a petition to God: “Why leave us to stray from your ways…Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down…?”
This is a prayer of hope. As Isaiah rightly demanded, God will not keep silent until we are saved. That salvation is what our hope in Christ will accomplish for us. Therefore, when Isaiah asks God to tear the heavens and come down, he expects God to come quickly.
This is Our Lord’s prayer, “…Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” It is also Paul’s petition, “Maranatha!” It is the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come, Lord Jesus” (CCC 2817). God’s power and salvation is what we hope to see at the end of this season. That is, when God’s word would become flesh and born of a virgin.
In our second reading, Paul encourages us to be faithful as we wait for the coming of Christ. Though, Paul was referring to the parousia, yet, this reading is very ad rem to this season of Advent. Paul reminds us that we have received the gifts of the Spirit. It is these gifts of the Spirit that will strengthen us as we wait in joyful hope for Christ.
Our life is a long vigil, waiting for the Lord to be revealed in all his glory. So, we wait with expectation and joyful hope because His is Spirit is with us. If we walk with him this season, God will not fail us because: “our expectation shall not be cut short” (Pr 23, 18). So, as the Spirit guides us, we must prepare prayerfully, through the help of the Sacraments. This is especially, through the sacrament of reconciliation.
The gospel of today is a clarion call to be awake and alert. Only the Spirit of God can help us do this faithfully. Therefore, rather than obey the spirit of this world this season, we must obey the Spirit of God, who sustains us. So, let us to have our minds fixed on him.
It suffices to note that if we light up our houses and streets, without lightening up our lives spiritually for Christ to walk into it; if we prepare all things and places without preparing a manger for baby Jesus in our lives then, our preparation would not be complete.
Finally, as we eagerly anticipate the coming of the Lord this season, our hope and expectation should prompt us to be always awake and vigilant. It should make us prepare adequately in order to avail ourselves of Jesus’ mercy. Therefore, our constant prayer during this season as Paul constantly prayed should be: “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!”
Peace be with you all!