FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B
29th November 2020
Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37.
Today, the first Sunday of advent, we begin a new liturgical year of the Church. The just concluded liturgical year was marred by the covid-19 pandemic. It is best characterised as an uncertain year. We usher ourselves into the new liturgical year with lessons from the uncertainty. Today’s gospel warns us in clear terms to be awake. The gospel used the example of the servants left in charge while the master travelled abroad. The master expects to find the servants at their duty post on his return. The Lord expects us to be vigilant as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the infant Messiah.
The reason to be vigilant is found in the first reading. The reading from the prophet Isaiah reminded us of our rebellious nature that must be controlled. Prophet Isaiah questions the Lord: Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways; and harden our hearts against fearing you? Our waywardness resulting from the uncertainties of the pandemic must be put to rest. The lockdown and the mental stress associated with it was quite distressful and frustrating. Being robbed of ones daily routine can be very irritating. We are called to be awake as people expecting a great news that will change our lives for the better. We must make use of the master’s absence as an opportunity to improve witnessing to Jesus Christ. It is not a time to procrastinate and lazy about our duty post.
What is our disposition towards Christmas as we begin the season of advent? St. Paul praised the Corinthians thus: I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed;… The pandemic and the lockdown will form our experience as we celebrate this Christmas. But our joy will depend on how we make use of the experience. Our task this advent will be to convert every experience to joy in order to make this Christmas a memorable one. The Corinthians have been enriched in so many ways according to St. Paul. The pandemic and the lockdown must have enriched us in some way. We must discover it and apply it to our witnessing to Jesus Christ.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.