Date: Sunday, December 02, 2018
First Sunday of Advent
We honor #41 President George H. Bush who died on Friday. He used an image of “1,000 points of light” to describe the richness and diversity of communities in America -- varied, volunteering and unique. This weekend we begin a season of lights for Jews and for Catholic Christians. Sunday evening (Dec 2) is the beginning of Hanukkah when candles are lit on the Menorah commemorating the Maccabean revolt against Greek-Syrian rule, degradation of Jewish culture and desecration of worship. “Hanukkah” means “dedication.” It is a celebration of the rededication of the temple and liberation of the Jewish people. Catholics light the first candle of the Advent Wreath. “Advent” means “coming.” It is a beacon light that heralds the coming of Jesus long ago; the coming of the Son of Man in glory at the end of all things; and the coming of Christ today into the world and into the life of the Church.
Advent is a season of faith where we express our hope that God’s promises will be fulfilled (Jeremiah). Advent is a season of love when our love for others will increase and abound (St. Paul to the Thessalonians). Advent is a season of watching and waiting (Jesus). We are to watch for distressing signs in the heavens and on earth that portend the end. Jesus warns us not to become drowsy or caught up in carousing and drunkenness; not to let anxieties catch us in a trap. We are exhorted to keep vigil and to pray for strength to escape the tribulation and to stand before the Son of Man.
On Saturday morning girls and boys celebrated the Sacrament of Penance – their First Reconciliation. It is a beautiful coming of Jesus with God’s precious gift of peace and forgiveness. Today at Mass we are keeping vigil just like believing Christians did long ago. Can there be a better place to watch and to wait? Keeping vigil need not be a distraction from the problems facing our world like poverty, starvation, refugees, threats of war, despoiling of creation, abortion, abuse, addiction, loneliness, depression etc. We are called to be good stewards and faithful servants of the Lord our Justice. We pray “Maranatha” – the Lord is coming.