Sermon and Homily for the First Sunday of Advent Year A
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ, today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. Here you would find the basic information of the meaning of advent and the reflections of the Word of God with a inspirational story.
Today we are beginning the new liturgical year in the Roman liturgical calendar. This year the liturgical year will be the “year A” the mass reading for the whole year would be according to the liturgical calendar of year A. [button size="normal" type="info" value="Mass Readings" href="http://sundaysermon.org/dailymassreadings/mass-readings-first-sunday-advent-year/"]
What is Advent?
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”.
Advent is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches’ equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs in both length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.[At least in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, which is the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive.
Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.
The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often the preparation for the Second Coming while commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. The first clear references in the Western Church to Advent occur in the Gelasian Sacramentary, which provides Advent Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for the five Sundays preceding Christmas and for the corresponding Wednesdays and Fridays. While the readings relate to the first coming of Jesus Christ as savior as well as to his second coming as judge, traditions vary in the relative importance of penitence and expectation during the four Sundays in Advent.
Last Days of Advent . . . . . . . . . . . Pope John Paul II, Dec. 18, 2002
Pope John Paul II in his address on Dec. 18, 2002 said, “The liturgy of Advent…helps us to understand fully the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, it is necessary to understand that the whole of our life must be an ‘advent,’ a vigilant awaiting of the final coming of Christ. To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously.”
An Advent Story
When Marvin was a young teenager (around the 1930s or early ‘40s, I imagine), he asked his father if he could go with the other kids to some entertainment event (he didn’t say what kind). His father said it wouldn’t be appropriate and told him no. Marvin said he was going anyway, and headed out.
“If you go out without my approval,” his father told him as he reached the door, “this house will be locked when you get home, and you’ll have to sleep somewhere else.”
Marvin refused to back down. He left. He enjoyed the event.
That, he said, was the short part of the night.
When he got home he found the house dark, the doors locked. Even that window in the basement that the kids could sometimes work loose was locked tight.
Marvin stood in the dark, thinking about his options. It wasn’t winter, but it was fall and the night was getting cold.
He remembered a sort of loft in the chicken coop which his brother and he had appropriated as a “secret place.” It had a sort of a mattress and a ratty quilt.
He went into the chicken coop and climbed up. The “mattress” was there, but the quilt was gone.
Lacking other options, he lay down on the mattress and curled up in a fetal position. The cold wind blew in through the cracks. The coop stank of chicken droppings. There was no way to sleep. He lay there in the darkness hugging himself, shivering. The hours passed slowly. He wondered if he could make it through the night.
Then, at last, he heard a door open. He heard a creaking sound as someone climbed the board ladder to the loft. Someone put a pillow under his head, lay down and held him close, and pulled a quilt over both of them.
In the darkness, he heard his father say, “Marvin, when I said that if you disobeyed me you’d have to find another place to sleep tonight, I didn’t say that I would sleep inside.”
And so that pastor taught his son the true meaning of the Incarnation.
Wish I’d had a dad like that.
Wait. I do.
The Reflection on the Word of God.
God is peace giver and peace lover
In today’s first reading we could find the change of the heart of the people in reality. The word of God is very clear on how to change your heart according to the will of God. There is a process in changing your heart towards God as it is inscribed in the first readings.
First Step – The desire to walk towards heaven - “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
Second Step – The desire to enter into your hearts – “to the house of the God of Jacob,”
Thirds Step – Listen to your inner voice, the voice of God – “that he may instruct us in his ways”
Fourth Step – Determined to follow the instruction of God – “and we may walk in his paths.”
Fifth Step – Change of mind and actions – “They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.
Sixth Step – You are the light for others – ” let us walk in the light of the Lord!”
In the Gospel passage Jesus is instructing his disciples how God wants to separate good and evil. Good will be taken by God for eternal life while the evil will be left alone for eternal punishment.
We should not forget or neglect that there will be good and bad in front of us all the time. As human being we know what is from God and what is not from God; what is necessary and what is not necessary.
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;” Deuteronomy 30:15
“In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider – God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.” Deuteronomy 7: 14