28 November 2021 – 1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)

by Fr Francis Anthony

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 24:4-5,8-9,10,14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Theme: Be ready to welcome Jesus

Dear friends,

First Sunday of Advent – it is the beginning of the liturgical year. Waiting for the coming of Christ.  Last Sunday we concluded the previous year, celebrating the Feast of Christ the King.  So that’s our target. 

Now with this journey, how am I appreciating the friendship of God?  That is what we have in the Responsorial Psalm, in the 3rd verse: The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him. So we’ll see it is a two-way part – the Lord reaching out to us and we turning to him with reverence and the way we live our life.  And this is what we’ll call waiting for (not the baby Jesus) the 2nd coming of Christ.  And during this period let us see how I am responding.

In the 1st Reading, Prophet Jeremiah says: The promises made by God is to be fulfilled.  Yes, God has promised and God has promised salvation.  And in the text it goes this way: In those days at the end of time, I will make a virtuous branch (that is speaking of Jesus), and he shall come and practice honesty and integrity.  He practices that but at the same time, he is acting as a role model for us in our own lives.  As we say we are waiting, we are hoping, the candle there giving us hope but if that hope is to be real, how am I making it possible?  Yes, Christ came and he has practised honesty and integrity, and is that also in my life?  What about honesty and integrity?

And this is so important because at the second coming of Christ, he will be saying to those saved on his right – Take the kingdom, because when I was hungry, when I was thirsty, when I was naked, you turned to me.  And it is this – integrity and honesty is not only looking at the poor people, how I can be a source of help but also how I am able to bring about this concern for others.  And St Paul puts it very strongly in the 2nd Reading when he says that: Be generous in increasing your love.  We’re praying that God increases his love in us.  For what?  So that I can love the others.  So again, as I said, it is not just a downward movement of God and how I am preparing.

Now we speak of this path that God has opened to us.  In the afternoon I will be giving a talk over the Zoom on The Highway that God has opened for us.  Yes, but that highway I have to walk.  If I do not walk, then there is going to be no change.  And in that walking, I have to see how am I being a steady person on that path.  How am I removing the obstacles?  How am I having concern for others?  How am I integrating with others?  And this is what here in the 2nd Reading Paul is telling us: the faith in us to reach out to others

And in the Gospel text, it is very frightening which says all the hardship that is going to come.  But that is a reality in our lives today.  Do not wait for the moon and the stars to be tumbling, and the oceans once away we’re going to have tsunami.  Look at the realities in our times – the climate change.  And that has brought serious forest fires.  Malaysia was spared from forest fires but what about the flooding?  We were not spared.  Let us not say: oh the flooding took place there in that low lying.  And who were the ones who suffered?  Our own brothers and sisters.  And the hardships that we are facing due to COVID – the sickness and the consequence of that, that has made it so difficult for very many of us. 

So my dear friends, it is in these situations that we are turning to God and asking God to help that I will be able to bring hope to others.  That I, in my own way, will be able to say: Yes, Lord, I am not able to change to climate situation.  I am not able to succumb the COVID but I, in my own small way, can reach out to the millions who are dying of starvation. 

Yes, I might not be able to reach out to them but let me check how am I dealing with food.  Am I wasting food?  Yes, if I waste food, I am insulting the poor persons who are dying of hunger.  They have no crumbs and we are just not bothered.  So the situation: if I want to be a candle of hope, let me ask God to give me the love to reach out to others.  Enough of suffering but I, in my words, in my action, will have concern for all.  And it is in this way we can say:

Yes, Lord, I am our child. You have blessed me with your presence, let me share this with others. 
And so waiting for Christ’s coming, I am going to make possible that all of us will,
be it one way or another, enjoy peace and harmony.

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Click to live-stream Mass on 28 November 2021