First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 2: 1-5
Romans 13: 11-14
Matthew 24: 37-44
I know that the day isn’t starting that well when on getting out of bed I suddenly realise that I have put on an Alb instead of a dressing gown! It’s all about awareness.
An event that is difficult not to be aware of the moment is the coming, the arrival of Christmas. Shopping windows, Father Christmas, tinsel, repetitive Christmas songs, etc. bombard us.
And people of faith know that there is to be a Second Coming when all of God’s plans are brought to completion: “When you come again”.
In between we can forget that God, Christ, comes to us every day, every moment.
Who is the ‘us’? Who does it involve? ‘All nations, languages, people, the whole of creation’.
Isaiah says that all nations are coming to learn how to relate to God. There are no limits as to who is invited.
There are some ‘terms imposed’ though; and they are that there is a limit on using anything that creates division, discord, war.
Advent is a time when we are to become more alert to the presence of Christ.
That presence is not just coming at the end of time, at the end of our lives. We are called to be aware that we are waiting ‘in joyful hope’; and that every step along the journey is blessed with the Presence of that Christ, the Christ-child, the Christ on the Cross, the Cross risen from the dead.
We can sometimes ‘drift along’ in life with only a ‘half-awake’ awareness of what is happening in our lives. We may not be aware that any person we meet is in fact that ‘Christ-child, the Christ on the Cross, the Christ who conquered death and sin.’ We need to wake up. It is like being half awake in the morning, and not being very alert.
Not to see the presence of Christ in every event of our day, every connection we have with others, everything that happens to us, is as though we haven’t the correct prescription for our eyes.
Ordinary life can lull as into being half-awake, as it was in Noah’s time – everyone going about their ordinary humdrum business and not listening to what God is saying.
Our lives are not a ‘test’ to see whether we are worthy to be with Christ, they are a creative opportunity to grow in faith, in hope and in love.
As Peter Leunig, the cartoonist, puts it: Christmas – Love is born. So simple and so profound.
Fr. Tony Egar CP has spent his 58 years of priesthood working in Australia and PNG with novices and students who have been called to the Passionist way of life, ministering in parishes, in the giving retreats and in spiritual direction.