First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2016 – Year A
Readings: Is 2:1-5 / Ps 122 / Rom 13:11-14 / Mt 24:37-44
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
About 20 years ago, while I was having a lively dinner conversation with my cousins in New York during my first week in the United States, they gave me the honor of hearing about all they had done – a sort of summary of their lives. This included not only their achievements but also the mistakes they made and what they should have done. They were also quick to say that their failures were all “water under the bridge” and that “hindsight is always twenty-twenty”.
Since these were idiomatic statements, my Aunt – who was a retired teacher – knowing that there is no equivalent in our native language, told my cousins to explain what they meant. One of my cousins put it this way. It’s always easy to know the right thing to do after something has already happened; but you can no longer change things, so it is best to just move on and start over. My cousin had made his statement based on his own perspective, but I believe it is close to what our Holy Mother Church has been telling us for centuries.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the liturgical year. As we thank our Lord for all the blessings we have received this past year, we also thank him for the lessons we learned both from our successes and from our mistakes. What we should not do is brood over our past failures because this is a waste of the time that our Lord has given us as a gift.
St. Theresa of Avila is quoted as saying: “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” Satan, who is the prince of darkness, will surely try his best to tempt God’s children to dwell on their past failures and mistakes because this will prevent them from moving on with their lives and moving toward God, who is the Light of the world.
Today’s first reading, which is taken from the book of Isaiah, reminds us to walk in the light of the Lord. Saint Paul, in the second reading from the Letter to the Romans, tells us to throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Our Lord Jesus tells us in the Gospel to stay awake. He is not telling us that we should no longer sleep; after all, Jesus slept. He wants us to always be spiritually awake and walk in His light.
The season of Advent is a time to reignite the light of Christ in our lives. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul reminds Christians to get rid of the darkness of sin in their lives, because God and sin can’t exist together.
As we bless the lights in our Advent wreath today and through the next weeks let us ask the Lord Jesus to give us the grace and strength to always live in His light. Pray constantly, receive the sacraments, read God’s words in Scripture on a regular basis, and put into practice our Lord’s teachings. For by doing these things we will – as St. Paul instructs us – be putting on the armor of light.