Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Catholic for Life
2020 YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: ADVENT SEASON: A PERIOD OF WATCHING AND WAITING!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: *Is 63 : 16 – 64 : 8, 1 Cor 1 : 3 – 9, Mk 13 : 33 – 37.
The early Christians had 4 allied conceptions of the end time that made them fearfully vigilant ; (1) They dreaded the day of the Lord, Amos 5 : 18 – 20, Is 13 : 9, Joel 2 : 1, etc. (2) The prophesied fall of Jerusalem that finally happened in 70 Ad, Lk 21 : 5 – 11. (3) The 2nd coming of Christ, 1 Thess 4 : 16 & 5 : (4) The idea of impending persecution / martyrdom, Mk 13 : 9. The summary of the Church’s escatological teachings is the imminent coming of the end (the time is irrelevant) and the ultimate reign of Christ (destruction of the Satanic systems of evil, Rev 18 – The fall of Babylon the great city, the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication) and the reward of good and evil, Matt 25 : 31 – 46.
B. THE THEOLOGY OF WATCHING AND WAITING
With this background, today’s gospel says : ‘Be on your guard, stay awake because you do not know the time the Master of the house is coming’. In the parable of the foolish virgins, Matt 25 : 1 – 11, we take note that what made them foolish was not lack of knowledge but lack of vigilance. Vigilance is the first and the last word of the Church. The Church teaches us to be watching and waiting always because we do not know when the Master is coming so that he does not find us asleep (in mortal sin) .
In the theology of watching and waiting, we speak of the following dimensions ; (1) Watching in vigilance, Matt 25 : 1-20 , (2) Waiting in communion, 1 Cor 1: 2 – 9 – You will not be without the gift of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed and he will keep you steady without blame (purity) , 1 Thess 5 : 4 – 8. (3) Waiting in perseverance, Rom 5 : 1 – 4.
Ours is a society where patience /ability to wait has become the scarcest commodity in the market place of virtues. Check our banks and see impatience ; Look at our traffic and see rush ; Examine how we distribute food/entertainment during ceremonies and see impatience at work; Our young girls can no longer wait for husbands ; Our young men no longer wait to gradually make their money ; Our students can no longer wait to learn ; Our parents can no longer wait for their children to grow up before burdening them with responsibilities, etc. According to Fr Emma Onuh of blessed memory, ‘The Christmas Jesus is a very popular man but the Jesus of the Advent and Lenten season is always abandoned in all our Churches, denied in the market place, ridiculed in the offices and defiled on the streets of our daily lives. Why? Because of the “Instant – service – mentality” of our present day society ‘.
A good Advent season begets a good Christmas season while a good Lenten season guarantees a good Easter season. The Advent season is a period of waiting placed by the Church before Christmas and Easter to teach us that joy comes after mourning, Ps 30 : 5. The liturgical significance of the purple colour used during Advent, Lent and Funerals is vigilance. Green signifies normal life. White is for the joyful seasons (eg Christmas and Easter) while red signifies martyrdom and the Holy Spirit. Romans 5 : 1 – 4 gives us the connection between waiting and the Holy Spirit ; Suffering brings perseverance which brings hope which does not fail us because the Holy Spirit is poured out when there is hope.
Those who wait upon the Lord will have their strength renewed, Is 40 : 30. According to Fr Emma Onuh, ‘The engine of hope is powered by the oil of patience, while patience is the ability to wait gainfully’. Life itself from womb to tomb is a whole project of waiting. We must wait to be born ; to grow up, to go to school, to get admission, to graduate, to get a job/start a business, to get married, to have children ; we must wait to train them, wait to die and even in purgatory, we must wait to go to heaven. Why the female anatomy in general biology seems to be a hybrid superior to the male specie is that they are more patterned to waiting than the male; waiting for suitors, waiting for fruits of the womb, and waiting for their children to grow up and to succeed in life. This is perhaps why they survive more in the womb and outside the womb and generally live longer than men.
We must learn to watch and wait for the coming of our Lord in purity and devotion. Our 1st reading says that God is our father and we are the clay. He is the Potter and we are the work of his hands, Is 64 : 6. We must wait for God to mould and direct our destiny, Jer 29 : 11. We must put on the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love in order to watch and wait till the end. Happy Advent Season dear friends!
FR BEN AGBO
2020 YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: BE ALERT, WATCHFUL AND PREPARED
BY: Fr. Anthony Kadavil
Chaplain, Sacred Heart Home, Mobile, AL
HOMILY: The central theme of today’s readings is Jesus’ warning to us to be alert, watchful and prepared because Christ’s Second Coming, coinciding with the end of the world, can occur at any time. People, in general, used to have a paranoid fear about the end of the world.
They expected it in A.D. 204, 999 and 2000. The title of a best-seller published in 1988 was 101 Reasons Why Christ Returns in 1988. An extremely popular film released in 1999 about Christ’s Second Coming was Omega Code, and another film released in 2005 was Left Behind. Excessive fear of the tribulations accompanying the end of the world led the followers of a religious cult led by Jim Jones (in 1978), and followers of another cult called Heaven’s Gate (in 1997), to commit mass suicide. But Jesus, in today’s Gospel, gives us the assurance that we need not be afraid of the end of the world, Christ’s Second Coming and the Last Judgment if we remain alert and prepared. The Church invites us on this first Sunday of Advent to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming, first by properly celebrating during this Christmas season the fond memory of Christ’s first coming 2000 years ago, second, by experiencing Christ’s daily advent or coming in the Eucharistic celebrations, in the Holy Bible and in the worshipping community, and third, by preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming which, for us, will happen at the moment of our deaths or at the end of the World.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah prays for God’s active presence so that the Jewish community, returned from Babylonian exile, may remain faithful to their God. In the second reading, St. Paul prays for the reconversion of Christians in Corinth who have misused their gifts and charisms and remain ill-prepared for Christ’s Second Coming. In today’s Gospel, using the short parable of the servants and gatekeeper of an absentee master who could return at any time, Jesus instructs his followers to be alert and watchful while doing their Christian duties with sincerity. The gatekeeper and the household servants are expected to be ever vigilant because their master is sure to return. Although the time of his return is uncertain, but the reward or punishment is sure and certain.
The message of today’s Scripture is that we should live in the living presence of Jesus every day waiting for his Second Coming. We can experience Christ’s living presence in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in our worshiping community in our parish, in our family, in our own souls and in everyone around us. The early Christians experienced it, and that is why the mutual greeting among Christians was not “Hi!” or “Good Morning!” but the Aramaic, “Maran Atha” which means “Come, Lord Jesus.” This greeting acknowledged Jesus present in each of them and about to return. May God bless you and keep you ever prepared for Christ’s second coming.
2020 YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: KEEP WATCHING UNTIL THE LORD RETURNS
BY: Very Rev. Fr. John Louis
HOMILY: READINGS: Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1, 3-8 / 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 / Mark 13:33-37
The first Sunday of Advent begins the liturgical year of the Church. The word ‘advent’ means arrival or coming. Specifically in the liturgical setting, the word ‘advent’ refers to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Season of Advent, which consists of the four Sundays preceding Christmas, is a time in which we prayerfully remember the first coming of Christ, while preparing spiritually for his second coming. The spiritual preparation for the Lord’s second coming could be illustrated with the watchful waiting by an ancient doorkeeper, as in today’s gospel reading (Mark 13:33-37).
In the ancient world, a good doorkeeper stayed awake throughout the period of duty so that he could promptly open the door at the arrival of his master. His community-level counterpart, the city gatekeeper or watchman, was expected to have a good sight, so that he could see from afar any threat to the security of the citizens. And whenever he sensed a threat, the watchman promptly raised an alarm. In addition, the watchman often had a weapon for the purpose of defense.
As Christians, we are the doorkeepers of the house of the Lord. Like a good doorkeeper of old who stayed awake throughout the period of his duty, we are to be watchful until the Lord returns again. Until the Lord’s second or ultimate coming in glory, however, he visits us every day in many different ways. We, therefore, have to be vigilant to recognize his daily ‘arrivals’ and promptly open the doors of our hearts, minds and souls to him. He comes to us in the sacraments to give us his graces, in his Word to enlighten us, in others to admonish us, in the poor to show us the sure path to heaven, in times of sickness or trouble to remind us that the sojourn in this world is short, so we should seek first his kingdom and righteousness, etc. May we always be as prompt as the good doorkeeper in any way and at any time that the Lord may come to us.
Like the watchman of old, we are expected to have good sights, so that we would see from afar any threat to the security of the household of the Lord. In other words, we should detect the works of false prophets and deceptive miracle-workers and alert other faithful especially the innocent ones.
Again, like the watchman of old, we are supposed to keep spiritual weapons for the defense of the household of the Lord. In the Letter to the Ephesians, we find some of the weapons we have to employ for our spiritual warfare:
“Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:13-18, RSVCE). Thus, some of the weapons we have to employ are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God as well as prayer.
Finally, therefore, may the Lord grant us the grace to be good spiritual doorkeepers/
watchmen who promptly welcome Him on His daily ‘arrivals’, while detecting the works of false prophets, and alerting others of such evils, whereas keeping the spiritual weapons of truth, righteousness, peacemaking, faith, the Word of God, prayer, among others, until the Lord’s final coming. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis