Today we celebrate the first of the four Sundays of Advent. It marks the beginning of a new liturgical year after its conclusion last Sunday with the feast of Christ the King. Advent is a season which sees us looking forward to the coming of the Lord. It is a double expectation.
We look forward to the celebration of Christmas, the greatest event in human history… the incarnation of God himself, who chose to be born in the little town of Bethlehem in Judea, showing himself to the poor and the outcast.
We also look forward to the second coming of Jesus. Reflecting upon His first coming, his teachings, and his commendations, we prepare ourselves to encounter him when He comes again.
The Jews looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. We believe that the Messiah has come. The death and resurrection of Jesus reconciled the human race with God. But, salvation is not yet completed for there is still a lot more to accomplish, as is evidenced by many people’s rejection of God, and by the fact that many people still live a life that is far from being decent or humane.
Today’s scripture readings give voice to our own experience and our longing for a Saviour. The prophet Isiah addresses God as Redeemer and Father, and asks Him the question that resonates in our mind: Why do you let us go astray? He calls upon God: Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down! Come down and see what is happening in the world around us. In Jesus, God does come down, and he invites us to respond to His presence.
He invites us to be on guard and to stay awake, to be alert to his promptings, to use our time well, and thus be able to welcome Him when He comes to encounter us. As faithful disciples we need to commit our lives, here and now, to the great work God has begun in this world.
A happy advent season to all parishioners and friends.
Fr Silvio Bezzina