The first Sunday of Advent can be called as a Sunday of hope. It is not simply recalling the incarnation of the Lord, rather, we march towards the second coming of the Lord. However, this hope finds its origin in the incarnation, filled with joy. Though the incarnation was and is a mystery for our simple understanding, we pray that we may be able to welcome the second coming with sufficient preparedness and awareness. It is easy said than done. The Church from her part, offers us every Sunday through the dominical celebration the sacred texts which are useful to nourish our faith and help us to live this faith in joy.
The prayer of the prophet Isaiah in the first reading is ours. Even today we hear them from the mouth of the people of good will. We don’t understand the reason behind the unjust suffering of the people, the sickness, separations, divorce etc. Even though there are plenty to be discouraged, the first reading does give us the hope and helps us to discover the source of this hope. "We are clay, it is you who shapes us; we are all the work of your hand. " This total surrender before the goodness of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to mould us, will give to the believes the necessary energy to nourish our hope.
This is why the prophets urged the people to cry out to God, 'come and save us'. This scream is a sign of hope and trust. We put everything in the hands of the Lord that He may use them as He wants, so that the world can find its joy and happiness that God wished for it, right from the beginning of the creation.
A God filled with goodness and generosity, is a great support to the believers, to be desired and be trusted. The fidelity of the people in this God is a recognition of His unconditional love and eternal mercy. My friends, we have a God who loves us. It is important that we learn to respond to him positively. His grace is superabundant and we can have it whenever we want it.
The time of Advent is a preparation to welcome this grace of God. We have already recognized it in the incarnation and we still wish it. Today the question is how to access this grace of incarnation, now? Today’s gospel message gives us through the mouth of Jesus a wonderful proposal: watch and pray.
How can we watch? I would like to remind you of the parable of ten virgins. The lamp represents faith. Never lose our faith. Oil represents charity and love. If our faith does not help us to be charitable, doesn’t give us the reason to forgive and love others, what is the use of this lamp of faith, which can never be lit. It is not enough to have faith and charity separately. They need to be interconnected and linked. It is here that prayer plays an important role like that of a match box. Without this prayer we can never make visible this faith and the charity we have. The match box however remain still discreet, and a true prayer will never be exposed for mere publicity. Watching and praying is simply making sure that this lamp is always on. It is a Christian duty, a baptismal vocation that we have received: Light of the world and salt of the earth. Have a wonderful Advent season. God bless you all.