Theme: PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME
- Isaiah 2:1-5;
- Psalm 121 (122): 1-2. 4-5. 6-9. R/ cf. v. 1;
- Romans 13:11-14
- Matthew 24:37-44
1. Today is the First Sunday of Advent, and today we begin a new liturgical year, Liturgical Year A. The word “Advent” means “coming”, the coming of Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come at the end of time in Majesty!
Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago in Memory, he died rose from the dead and gave the Holy Spirit and he continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, until the end of time when he will come in Majesty as King of the universe!
2. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, and not to be like the people in Noah’s time, eating and drinking and getting married until the Flood came and swept them away!
The gospel tells us that the man who is prepared will be taken to heaven, but the man who is not prepared will be left behind; the woman who is prepared will be taken to heaven, but the woman who is not prepared will be left behind!
Finally, the gospel tells us to be always prepared because we do not know when Jesus Christ will be coming! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. …. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Mt 24: 42. 44; SM)
3. The first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring peace to the world! (NJB; CCB) He will rule over all the nations and settle their disputes and there will be peace in the world!
There will not be any need for the weapons of war. Swords will be turned into ploughs for ploughing and planting, and spears will be turned into sickles for pruning and harvesting!
In other words, the trillions of dollars we spend on the weapons of war today will be used for agricultural purposes to feed the hungry and the poor! Thus we read in the first reading:
“He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.” (Is 2:4; SM)
4. The responsorial psalm tells us that the peace of Jesus Christ is much more than the absence of war; it is “shalom” (peace)! The Hebrew word “shalom” means wholeness, soundness, perfection, completeness, well-being, lacking nothing, prosperity, happiness, and salvation!
In fact the word “Jerusalem” means “city of peace”! “Salem” is an abridged name of Jerusalem, the city of peace (shalom). (NJB) Thus the prayer for the peace of Jerusalem in the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm:
“For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace! For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’ For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good.” (Ps 121 (122): 6-9; SM)
The translation from the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) reads thus:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, prosperity for your homes! Peace within your walls, prosperity in your palaces! For love of my brothers and my friends I will say, ‘Peace upon you!’ For love of the house of Yahweh our God I will pray for your well-being.” (Ps 121 (122): 6-9; NJB)
5. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by avoiding drunkenness, orgies, immorality, vices, quarreling, fighting, jealousy, etc. Thus we read in the second reading:
“Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy.” (Rm 13:13; SM)
6. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time!
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