27 November 2022 – 1st Sunday of Advent (Year A)

by Fr Joachim Robert

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 121(122):1-2,4-5,6-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44

Theme: Jesus, Light of the World

Dear friends,

Advent is a journey that we take at the beginning of every liturgical year. And Advent is a time of anticipation, of expectant waiting for the coming of our Saviour, both the second coming and also the immediate coming of Christ. And as we look at our own journey, dear friends, a journey of growth, a journey from darkness to light, a journey that we take from where we were to where we ought to be, is a journey that we take together with God.

In the First Reading, we see Prophet Isaiah mentioning ‘In the days to come, the Temple of the Lord shall tower above the mountains and will be lifted higher than the hills.‘ Our journey in Christian discipleship, dear friends, is a journey up that mountain where we see the dwelling place of God.

And the last line of today’s First Reading as well, he says ‘Oh House of Jacob come. Let us walk in the light of the Lord.‘ And as we take this journey, dear friends, this Advent is a journey of preparation, of preparing our hearts to expand our hearts for the love that God has for us. To make place for Him so that we can grow more and more into the light of His grace. Because when we allow the light of Christ to penetrate, to shine through the darkness of our hearts, then we become more aware of His presence and we prepare the manger of our hearts to welcome Him more actively.

We wait and we wait and we wait but sometimes as we wait, God is already present, God is already working patiently in our own life as we take that step closer and closer towards welcoming Jesus in the manger.

And as we look, dear friends, Christmas is a journey, a journey of hope. Advent prepares us for Christmas to welcome Jesus and that whole journey that we take towards the coming of God Emmanuel is a journey that is founded in hope. Because in God, we can trust, in God we can overcome all obstacles in life. And every opportunity that God gives us is a moment that we encounter God’s presence in our lives, whether in prayer, in communion, in the sacraments, when we engage in work of charity, these are all opportunities especially it is loaded during this time of Advent for us to encounter Him more strongly.

And our whole journey, dear friends, of life, our whole journey as Christians, if without that encounter of God it makes no purpose, makes no sense. We encounter Him in our prayer each time we come for Mass, each time when we do good works, when we visit the sick, when we help the poor, when we think about others, when we accompany people to pass on the faith and the experience of God, of one another, when we are not thinking about ourselves, when we are lovingly accepting one another in love. These are moments, dear friends, of encounter that God brings to us.

But sometimes because of our blindness, we are not able to acknowledge that these are moments of God’s coming. And as we look in such a manner, every day is a moment of Advent, every day is a moment where Christ comes to be present in our lives. All that we need to do is dispose ourselves and to seek the truth of what God wants of us.

And as I look at this whole journey of our candidates, a journey of search, where they put their faith and trust, seeking God and acknowledging the presence of God in their lives, and the whole community of faith through the RCIA facilitators, tries to make sense of what that restlessness is within you. The restlessness of why you are feeling in such a manner and why you are seeking that opportunity that God has given to us. Because each one of you, dear friends, in the restlessness that you search for God is also a reminder that God is still present and still at work even in our human history.

As we look at our whole political situation as well, the whole time that we have journeyed to that encounter of God, the whole journey of the process of we coming to acknowledge that prayer is fundamental in everything that we do. It is a reminder for you and I, dear friends, to open our hearts to bare our hearts before the Lord so that we are able to acknowledge His presence more and more vividly.

But for that, we must pray earnestly and we must stay awake. Stay awake because we do not know the day when your Master is coming. Because each day, dear friends, each time when we awake in God’s presence, we are indeed entering into the presence of God.

And the Responsorial Psalm says today ‘I rejoice when I heard them say ‘Let us go to God’s house.’‘ Advent is a time of preparation, of entering into that dwelling place of God where we come to experience His love and mercy. Who encounters us in our brokenness, in our own limitations, in our own smallness. And some of us may say that this walk of Christian discipleship is not for me because I am too sinful, my journey of life is too horrible, and it is a very dark past of my life which I cannot embrace.

But, dear friends, the Lord comes into our lives. Jesus sought after people who are great sinners and you and I are part of that sinners. A sinner who has a future with God. Are we open to allow the grace of God to be at work and to allow Him to walk together with us? As He leads us from the darkness of our lives into His wonderful light.

And our Christian walk of discipleship, dear friends, gives us every opportunity to configure ourselves more and more into Christ because the journey of Advent is not an external journey only but it is also an interior journey where we find our hope restored in this God who loves us, who comes into our lives. And to encounter Jesus in every aspect of our daily lives is for us to soak in His presence with the word of God and in the sacraments.

So let us ask, dear friends, as we take this journey forward together, preparing our hearts for the coming of our Saviour, let us pray for the grace to rid ourselves from all our darkness of our past so that they may be brought to light and Christ may be reborn in our lives again, trusting in His care and His love for us because He is a God who is always faithful, even though we drift away from Him, He never, never closes His door for us. The heart of his door is open if only we would allow Him to enter our hearts.

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