Nov 26, 2016

First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122 (121) 1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44

For hundreds of millions of years, God gently allowed the universe to quietly awake and gently stretch out - reaching out to touch heaven itself.  And yet, He who created time, never fails to see it all - the past, the present and the future, even in its final glory and beauty.

But we are often caught in a blind spot - time and time again, seeing our lives and world as a continuously repeating rhythm of coming and going. It sometimes feels like we are caught in a hamster’s wheel, unable to escape or fearing that it will eventually wear out, becoming dislodged and sending us head-over-heels.

So, during this Holy Season of Advent, the message we should hear loud and clear and never forget, is “Trust in God’s grace to break free and make a run for it! His hand is stretched out. Grasp it!”. (cf. Collect for First Sunday of Advent)

At the same time, He knows our fears, our anxieties and the burdens we carry. God doesn't force us to make the jump. He does not throw on all the lights at once. That might overwhelm us. We might freeze in fear. Instead, like the gentle colors of the dawn, He gives us the necessary time to carefully wake up.  But be warned; if you hit the snooze button, you’re back on the hamster’s wheel!

Maybe like the chirping of birds that we hear first thing in the morning as they greet the approaching new day, God likewise provides us with various messengers. They are like coaches, mentors, who from their high place first signal to us the approaching light. These early morning messengers alert us to get ready, to prepare for our run towards our heavenly goal.

Our first guides this morning are the prophet Isaiah, a psalmist and St. Paul. Isaiah asks us to enter into the vision of a new day that will lead us on a journey to a place where the earth will touch heaven. The psalmist is our day-planner showing us the path and where the day will lead us.  But in that morning hour when you are tempted to stay in bed and dream upon these beautiful visions, St. Paul, in the second reading comes knocking on the door calling out with a note of urgency, “Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour for you to awake from sleep!”

Christ reminds us through the Gospel, that we should treat every day as our only day- a day that will point us, without fear, to a day that will never end.  That means that this Holy Season of Advent is not simply four weeks every year to remind us that Christmas is coming. Advent begins every single morning as we open our eyes - that gentle dawn of the morning is God’s quiet invitation to break free from an old, repetitive day that alone should be put to rest.

We began the “Advent” of this Mass, by calling upon the refreshment of God’s mercy, like wiping away the sleep of sin that blurs our vision of  the glory and beauty of the world. We have listened to the sound of His voice through His early messengers. Now, in this Holy Eucharist, let us be ready to meet Our Lord face to face, for He comes to save the day.

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