Peace and all Good! The first Sunday of Advent, with which we begin this liturgical year, has a very similar tone to the final Sundays of the previous liturgical year. We have finished the previous year in the expectant tone of Christ’s return, which is like the climax of the whole work of redemption. We begin the year in the same key, that is, remembering that Christ is coming. Many times our preaching tends to focus on the final judgment based on fear, which may be contrary to the message of Christ, whose sense was not to cause fear but to invite us to be prepared. The meaning is not: “Worry!” but rather: “Look how you must act so that you don’t have to worry.” The fundamental thing and what he repeats is: “Be prepared!” The examples he gives, like that of Noah’s time, alludes to what happens when one does not prepare. But the verses that follow the passage we heard shows well that Christ was not carrying out psychological terrorism or fishing for conversions based on fear. In those following verses, he speaks of all the good that will happen to the servant who remains attentive and vigilant, thus showing what he wants for us.
The first reading further accentuates that positive tone with which we are beginning this Advent. Perhaps most remarkable is the beautiful vision of peace with which Isaiah invites us to hurl ourselves into the future. Isaiah speaks of peace but also speaks of getting close to the light of the Lord, hearing his voice, obeying his law. A good question at the beginning of Advent is: Do we want the end that God promises, peace; do we equally accept the means he gives us to achieve it? Today’s second reading, meanwhile, invites us to cast away the darkness and wear the armor of light. We too are called to conversion at all times but singularly in Advent. In Advent, we welcome the graces of Christ’s visit, looking both at his return at the end of time and at his infinite compassion in the Incarnation and Birth. Advent, then, our advent, can only be seen as a walk towards the light. For many of us, it may be a long road, but it will be shorter if we start it today.
Please click here for the notice on #GivingTuesday, part of #iGiveCatholic. Your participation in almsgiving in this Advent season can help our Parish replenish needed funds for our Building Fund. Thank you for your Generosity! Happy Advent!
–Father Oscar Mendez, OFM
Mission San Luis Rey Parish