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First Sunday of Advent
November 29, 2015
Today the Christian community begins the Advent season, a time when we enter upon two different but very important journeys, each of which has significant signs that point the way. For the obvious journey toward Christmas the signs are clear. The Advent wreath and its candles signify the four Sundays of the season. Scripture readings throughout the season focus on the prophecy of Jesus. These are all signs that Christmas is around the corner. There is another important journey undertaken in this season, however, one that is not well emphasized or understood. It is the preparation we make for the coming of Jesus at the end of time. Today’s readings provide us with great signs of this event.
Next week, Pope Francis inaugurates a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Fulfilling his ministry of leadership as Peter in the Church, Pope Francis senses a historical moment that uniquely challenges Christian to contemplate more profoundly & live more concretely the mystery of God’s mercy. For God’s steadfast, abiding, compassionate, forgiving love-mercy-is the bridge that connect God & the human family, declares Pope Francis. Mercy opens our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness, & to the recognition of others, especially society’s least loved & most vulnerable, as brothers & sisters entrusted to our care.
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his followers that those who have faith & have done their best to follow the signs to God should have no fear. Rather, the faithful should stand up straight & raise their heads for their ransom is near at hand. In the First reading, God spoke through Jeremiah: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel & Judah….I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right & just in the land...Judah shall be safe & Jerusalem shall dwell secure….” This readings reveal God’s mercy to the world.
Advent is presents an opportunity & a challenge. The opportunity is one of preparation. We prepare initially for Christmas-not much the presents or decorations but our hearts & souls. The Challenge that come with the opportunity is great. We are to follow the signs provided by God, the Church, & one another.
Fr. Jonas Tandayu, MSC