Homily For The 1St Sunday Of Advent, Year A

The Prince Of Peace Comes In Glory And Majesty

Readings: (1st: Ish 2, 1-5; Ps: 122; 2nd: Rom 13, 11-14; Gos: Mtt 24, 37-44)

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: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, year A. Naturally, we all desire peace because, it is necessary for both our spiritual and material progress. It is this peace that we pray for, and expect Jesus the prince of peace to bring to our hearts, families and world at the end of this season.

The term Advent comes from two Latin words Ad-ventus, which simply means “to arrive” or Ad-venire, meaning “to come.” For us Christians, and Catholics in particular, it means expecting the Lord’s coming. Advent marks the beginning of the Church’s new liturgical calendar. It is a four-week preparation period leading up to Christmas.

So, on this first Sunday of Advent, the church enjoins us to rejoice because that night of long pilgrimage to God’s eternal city of peace will soon be fruitful. The reign of peace is close at hand. Therefore, we must wake up and be ready to receive Christ into our lives, families and nation. In the words of prophet Isaiah in the first reading: “We see the mountain of the temple of the Lord, already etched against the Eastern sky.” The prophet lifts up our spirits with his vision of the imminent reign of peace to be initiated by the coming of our Messiah.

The Messiah whom we expect this season comes to us with peace. Though “he will wield authority,” he will not oppress or exploit us. Rather, He shall transform our culture of war into that of peace: “…They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Unfortunately, this verse decorates the wall of United Nations building in London, yet peace has eluded our world under its leadership. Instead of living together in harmony, we see more divisions, breakup of unions and friendships. The reason is quite simple, “international morality which is the basis of secularism and humanism” alone without spirituality does not work. It is only the reign of the Christ in every heart and nation that can bring lasting peace.

To usher in this reign of peace successfully, both the second reading and gospel call us to be ready and awake. Paul, announces clearly to us of the closeness of our Saviour, the Prince of peace: “Our salvation is even nearer than He was when we were converted.” He also reminds us that: “The time has come.”

The time he means here is not the earthly time (“chronos”), but God’s time (“kairos”). It is the God’s appointed time to save his own people, and to restore peace to all troubled hearts, families, businesses, and nations. Hence, Paul advices us: “Let us live decently as people do in day time… no warring or jealous. Let your amour be the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Finally, the gospel is a wakeup call to all of us Christians. The evangelist admonishes us to: “Stay awake!” It is very important because, this is a season of great awakening, preparation, and of great expectation of the birth of the Messiah. It is a season that will definitely culminate in an outburst of great joy. It is, a season of prayer when all Christians must turn to God in prayer. Therefore, with the psalmist, I pray for you all my dear friends, companions, and people of God: “Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, and in your palaces, peace!”

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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