First Sunday of Advent (Cycle A)


The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in Noah's time

 

Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

 

Isaiah 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may instruct us in His ways, and we may walk in His paths". For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They 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. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

 

Romans 13:11-14

You know the time in which we are living. It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

 

Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to His disciples: "The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in Noah's time. In the days before the flood people were eating and drinking, marrying and being married, right up to the day Noah entered the ark. They were totally unconcerned until the flood came and destroyed them. So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal; one will be taken and one will be left. Stay awake, therefore! You cannot know the day your Lord is coming. Be sure of this: if the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming he would keep a watchful eye and not allow his house to be broken into. You must be prepared in the same way. The Son of Man is coming at the time you least expect".

 

First Sunday of Advent (Cycle A)

by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.

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The prophet Isaiah calls us to climb to the top of the mountain and look for the Lordís advent, the Lordís coming into our lives. In other words, heís calling us to rise above our daily worries, concerns and anxieties in order to take a look over the whole of our lives with all of their peaks and valleys. As Christians we do that in the vision of Christ, the Light of the World, Godís gift to us.

The problem you and I face comes not from the fact that we are unconcerned or apathetic or lazy. The problem you and I have is that weíre far too concerned about so many other things. We are so caught up in all of the events of our days that we do not pay attention to our souls, our inner spirit, and our inner selves. This spiritual blindness is spoken of in biblical language as darkness. And what do we do in darkness? Usually we sleep. We sleep because we shut down, tune out, and turn off.

When we, through accident, through chance, or in some other unexpected event, become aware of Godís activity in our lives, we suddenly pay attention -- we wake up. And in that moment of waking up we likely think that Godís coming to us is sudden, unexpected, startling. God has, however, always been there. He is actively present to us all of the time, each and every day. Itís our awareness of Him thatís changed. God hasnít changed in the slightest way. He is constant. It is we who are inconstant and changeable.

We often speak of Advent as being a season of time in which we prepare for the Lordís coming into our lives. Perhaps we should see it as a season of heightened awareness, for the truth is that we should be looking for God already at work in our lives every day. God is always offering Himself to us Ė we are not always responding. Advent is a time to conscientiously, deliberately, and with awareness respond to His offer of Himself to us.

Itís all a matter of seeing eternity in every season of our lives. Itís all a matter of paying attention to Godís presence to us in our lives as children, as teens, as young adults, in our middle age, an in the final seasons of our lives, when the leaves fall from their branches and the world goes to sleep under a blanket of snow. In each of those seasons of our lives Godís ever-present and everlasting love can break in upon us. We all, each one of us, feel it to be unexpected. But what is so unexpected about it?

God is always calling us to climb to the top of the mountain, look for His coming, and take a look over the broad range of our lives. Our lives are cluttered with too many things demanding our attention, draining us of our energies, and blinding us to the big picture. Money only goes so far. Technology can only do so much. Medicines have a short shelf life. All of our human resources are limited. Only God has what we needÖ and He has it in an inexhaustible supply.

Can we look ahead? Yes, we canÖ if we take the time and make the space to do so. Can we track the writing of Godís finger as He sends us His message? We can. Can we seize the opportunity to make time during Advent to come to some daily Advent Masses? Attend Communal Penance Services? Read from the bible? Spend extra time in thoughtful reflection and quiet prayer? We can. But that is not the issue. The big question is not what we can do Ė itís what we will do. Itís our will that is controlling, not our wishes.

We live in the time after Y2K was supposed to have shut down our world. Remember our worries of four years ago when the year 2000A.D. arrived and we were told that our computers might shut everything down? We also live in the time after September 11th. We live in an Age of Terrorism. We live with a lot of emotional anxieties. We might well ask ourselves the question: ďWhere is God in all of this?Ē and then seriously, during this Advent, pursue answers to that question. For questions are not denials, they are quests. And God always wants to be sought.

As your teachers taught you in school, the Greek philosopher Plato (who lived four hundred years before Christ) declared, ďThe life which is unexamined is not worth livingĒ. Every Advent, and indeed every time you come here to Mass, Holy Mother Church bids you to examine your life. I as your priest have always had that purpose in mind every time Iíve stood here preaching homilies.

Once again we enter into and begin our journey through Advent, hopefully looking for the coming of the Lord into our lives. And so I repeat to you the words of Saint Paul, words you just heard in his letter to the Romans, remembering that the Romans back in those days lived in a culture not altogether different from the one in which we presently live:

ďBrothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.

Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the dayÖ

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the desires of the fleshĒ.

And in the words of Jesus you just heard on todayís gospel account:

"So, too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."