29 November 2020: First Sunday of Advent 

by FR Anthony, Parachial vicar

Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus Come!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ, 

We are entering into a new Liturgical year. We are beginning the Advent Season, which reminds us to watch, wait, hope and pray for the Messiah to come.  Maranatha, come Lord Jesus come.   

          A 16 year old boy and two of his friends set out on a four day climb up Mount Hood.  It is 9000 feet up. Eleven days later the blizzard continued to rage. The snow was not stopping, their food is almost finished, their water is finished. Whatever they brought with them was gone. Their only comfort was a small bible. The boys took turns to read, listening to the word of God against a background of howling wind and falling snow.  The book of psalms seemed to give them comfort. They were hungry, lonely, not knowing what was ahead, just trusting in God. Waiting like this was not easy. All the boys could do was pray, hoping the blizzard snow would stop. Finally, on the 16th day, the weather cleared and the boys crawled out of snow cave. Later that day they caught sight of a rescue party. Their long ordeal of waiting was finally ended.

          The story of the boys waiting in the cave, waiting to end the storm is a good image of Advent. The season of Advent recalls Israel’s long period of waiting for the Messiah. All they could do was wait and pray as the boys did on the Mount Hood. All they could do was trust that God would come to their rescue.  Psalm 130 “I wait eagerly for the Lord’s help, and in his word I trust, I wait for the Lord more eagerly that watchmen wait for the dawn.”  This verse strengthened the boys. It was the same way with Israel as they waited for the Messiah.

          Advent is also a time when we recall that Jesus will return at the end of history at a time we least expect.  That is why Mark tells us in today’s gospel;  “Be on watch, be alert if Jesus comes suddenly, he must not find you asleep.  What I say to you, then, I say to all “Watch”  We are inbetween the first coming and second coming of Jesus. Our job is to complete the work he gave us to do.  Before returning to his Father, Jesus told his followers: Mt 28: 19-20  “Go, then, tell all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you, and I will be with you always, to the end of the age.

          Advent is a time we call to mind, in a special way, that when Jesus returns he will judge us on how well we worked to spread God’s kingdom on earth.

1st reading from Isaiah: The people have turned away from God, so the prophet cries;  “Oh that you would rip the heavens open, come to us.” Isaiah speaks of the Lord who comes to reveal His love and concern. If we reform and turn ourselves to God, He will accept us because He is our loving Father and savior.

2nd reading: Like the early Christian communities we are also to keep ourselves steady and without blame until the last day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the power of Jesus that gives us strength on our way.  He is our support.  He has called us, and Sanctified us. Advent instills in us hope and asks to be patient. The Lord is coming, that is for sure,  neither frustration, nor disappointments, nor cries should shatter our hope and patience.

          Let us ask Jesus to help us Persevere in the work he gave us to do.  Now we ask, Jesus, give us your strength, for some times things get tough, and we want to quit. Jesus give us your love, for sometimes people reject us, and we are tempted to hate. Jesus, give us your eyes, for sometimes life gets cloudy and dark, and we lose our way.  Jesus, give us yourself, our hearts were made for you and they will not rest until they rest in you.

          Yes, brothers and sisters, let us watch sincerely, let us wait with hope, let us pray unceasingly, then the Messiah, the Maranatha will come, and clear us, clean us, heal us and bless us.  

          Humor: A man named George promised his family one day he would take them to the Holy Land.  The day came he took them including his mother in law.  They have landed. They have been seeing all the interesting places.  They were having a good time but unfortunately his mother-in-law fell ill and died soon. Mr. George did not know what to do.  Someone told him to go to USA embassy and enquire what he could do.  The embassy people suggested to him, either you can bury her here or ship her to USA.  George asked how much does it cost?  If you want to bury her here it will cost only $500 dollars and if you want to ship it will cost $5000 dollars.  George thought for a minute and said I will ship her to the USA.  The embassy people said, you must love your mother-in-law or you may have plenty of money.  George said that is not true.  Some centuries ago a man name Jesus lived here and he died and he rose again. I don’t want to take chance to my mother-in-law to come back again to life.