The First Sunday of Advent: 27.11.2022
Fr. Rayan SVD
First Reading: Isa 2:1-5
Second Reading: Rom 13:11-14
Gospel Reading: Matt 24:37-44
Introduction: The joyous and hopeful Advent Season begins. The first invitation is to become people of light and walk in it. While some already walk in the light many are called to make a return with the words of the Palmist, come “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord”. Advent season ushers the believers to walk towards Bethlehem to have a darshan of the incarnate Divine Babe and then walk up to Jerusalem, the City of Peace and source of peace for the entire world. One may believe in the principle of using a thorn to remove a thorn but one cannot buy peace with war, violence and oppression. Only Jesus and those who believe in him are capable of establishing peace in the world.
The First Reading from Book of Prophet Isaiah extends an invitation to the people of Israel living in Judah and Jerusalem for two events: (i) To go to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob and (ii) To walk in the light of the Lord. The purpose of these two events are that the Lord on His Mountain will teach us His ways that we may walk in His paths. It is from Jerusalem, from Mount Zion comes the Word of God. The Lord would rebuke the Gentiles in such a way that they would drastically transform their swords into ploughshares and their spears into sickles. Weapons of destruction are converted into instruments of cultivation and harvest. Destruction is transformed into construction and an air of positivity lingers on. The oppressed Israelites were longing for this for ages.
The Responsorial Psalm is a fitting bridge between Isaiah’s aspirations for the Holy City of Jerusalem and Jesus’ warnings about that same Holy City’s destruction. It also expresses the joy of those called to go to the temple of Jerusalem, the house of the Lord. The people are invited to pray for peace of Jerusalem (literal meaning is “the city of peace”). The city has not experienced peace ever since it was invaded, occupied and destroyed by numerous colonizers such as the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, not to forget their own rulers.
In the Second Reading St. Paul recognizes the present time (kairos = time of salvation) as the time of salvation and therefore one has to rise from sleep. The arrival of the Messiah creates a crisis between light and darkness, honesty and dishonesty. There is a strong exhortation: (i) Put on the armour of light and (ii) Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. As one begins to walk honestly, there is a need to cast off the works of darkness, rioting and strong sexual desire or lust. Thus Paul highlights six shameful lifestyles connected with three zone of the human body in pairs: heart-eyes (emotion fused thought), mouth-ears (self expressive speech) and hands-feet (purposeful behaviour or activity). When all zones are in harmony, a human person is whole, healthy, holy and pure.
Jesus compares the days of Noah with the days of the Son of man in the Gospel Reading. The flood during the days of Noah destroyed the evil while the good were spared. It was a time of new creation and thus continuity was guaranteed. The Christian must be watchful because the Son of God is about take human form. The Son of Man is certain to return. No one knows the time of his return but we are asked to keep awake and remain watchful with hope. In a society that plans too many things for the future, living the present is of utmost importance but to a society that cannot go beyond the daily concerns of the day, the writing is on the wall: Go beyond the present. One has to choose between the two options. We are the choices that we make. In other words, our choices will reveal who we are.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.