1st Sunday of Advent: Be Saved, Be Faithful, Be Awake
There is a story of an elderly woman who went for her regular hearing test. After examining the Doctor gave her a new hearing aid. This new hearing aid was so tiny she could place it in her ears and no one would notice it. She went home and came back for a follow-up test. Upon seeing the doctor she exclaimed: "Oh Doctor this new hearing aid is a miracle now I can hear everything.” The doctor also was happy and he commented: "I sure your family and friends are happy that now they can communicate with you."
Then she said in a low voice: "I must tell you, doctor, I did not tell them yet that I can hear everything they say. It helped me a lot and also I had to remove 2 names from my Will."
Today we are beginning the new liturgical year with the season of advent. Advent is a season of listening to God, waiting for Christ and preparing for our Spiritual life. The church gives us this precious season of expectation: to be ready, to be hopeful, to be joyful as we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Christ in our personal lives, families, communities, in this world, and the entire creation. Let our liturgical celebrations, filled with silent prayer, melodious music, reflective words, sacramental participation, help us in preparation for the true celebration of Christmas.
Today I would like to reflect on these 3 phrases taken from today’s scriptural readings: Be Saved, Be Faithful, Be Awake
This year our worldview of life drastically changed because of the Pandemic. All of us, one way or the other affected by this crisis. We are faced with a challenge that fills us with fear, grief, frustration, emotional stress, spiritual anxiety, constantly worrying about our future. We long for freedom, protection from the sickness, expect a cure, hope for salvation. Prophet Isaiah echoes similar feelings and concerns that lead him to ask for God’s merciful help. He calls God as Creator, Redeemer, and Protector. Then the prophet invites the people to ask for protection, mercy, and salvation from a loving God. He gives us the beautiful image of our relationship with God praying: O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter, we are all the work of your hand.” Let us trust in the providence and protection of God who is love. Let us place ourselves in the merciful hands of God then we will be saved. We shall meditate on the response to the Psalm we heard: Restore us O God, let your face shine that we may be saved.
We will be saved because God is faithful to us. Only God is our salvation because of the generous Grace and Mysterious Mercy of God. St. Paul proclaims this message filled with gratitude that “through Jesus Christ, we are blessed with all the Spiritual gifts.” God’s grace will always strengthen us to the end and to keep us Holy. Because God is Faithful as St Paul writes so we are called into the fellowship with Jesus Christ. During this season of Grace, can we make efforts to reflect on the grace of God and our faithfulness to our Call to love God and one another?
The stern words of Jesus to his disciples “Beware, keep alert, for do not know when the time will come” is an invitation to reflect on the spiritual life. We are called to be the doorkeepers of our life and to be in constant watch with prayer, reflection, and consultation, participation in the community worship and receiving the sacraments, and practicing Christian Charity with all. Our faith and charity will keep us well guarded and always found Awake in the Love of God. During this season let us look for inner joy, peace, and love, and not outer happiness. Fr. Anthony De Mello, in his book, Awareness writes: “We have everything we need here and now to be happy. The problem is that we identify our happiness with people or things we don't have and often can't have.” In our busyness, we forget beautiful small things that give us meaning and happiness. Advent helps us to attend to what is most important in our life: love, compassion, justice, and our relationship both with God and other people. Let us make this Advent Season in the year of the Lord 2020 a unique and meaningful preparation as we wait in the hope to receive Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.
Author: Fr. Wilson Andrade, C.S.C
Photo source 1: parler.com
Photo source 2: Adobestock.com