1st Sunday of Advent Year B

Theme: Our redeemer is coming

Today is the beginning of a new liturgical year. It is the 1st Sunday of Advent, year B and the week day reading’s is cycle 1. The season of advent will last for four weeks, and we are to wait and prepare in hope and joyful expectation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In view of this, it is our duty as children of God to prepare in hope and joyful expectation for the coming of the Messiah, by emulating the attitude and way of life of the people of Corinth in today’s 2nd reading, as we prepare for his coming. As the liturgical year changes, so also is the gospel reading; now there is a shift from St. Mathew’s gospel we had in Year A to St. Mark’s gospel in Year B.

The season of advent presents us with the opportunity to prepare for Christmas and it also helps us to prepare for the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time. This shows that our waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ should not end with the celebration of Christmas. It should be a life-long thing that will help us to be vigilant and be ready at all times, so that the 2nd coming of Christ will not come to us as a thief. This is very important, taking into consideration the assertion in the gospel that no one knows the exact time that it will happen. We are soldiers of Christ and must be vigilant at all times, because we do not know the time or hour it will happen.

In the 1st reading, we see the prophet Isaiah acknowledging the faithfulness and mercy of God in the lives of his people and also praying and begging for Gods intervention in the lives of the Israelites. They just returned from exile and things were no longer the way it was before the exile. The prophet Isaiah was encouraging them through his words and prayers; they have to prepare and wait on the Lord. In the same way, we also have to prepare and wait on the Lord during this season of advent. The good news is that the Israelites were not disappointed at the end of their wait; in the same way, God will not disappoint all those who prepare and wait in hope for the coming of Jesus Christ.

The Corinthian church in today’s 2nd reading calls us to action. They were preparing and waiting in joyful hope. They did not just relax without doing anything and say they are waiting on the Lord; they were working and waiting in hope. This is very important, because we all have a role to play towards our redemption. The church in Corinth was not just praying; they were also working. The gospel tells us that we have to be vigilant; we must watch and pray. To watch means we have to be living a life that is pleasing to God. We have to live a life that builds on love of God and neighbour. A life that gives glory to God and will help us attain salvation. The season of advent invites us to be more prayerful and closer to God. It is a season of God’s grace as we prepare for his coming. Christmas has to go beyond physical preparation to spiritual preparation. Let us resolve this year to make effort to have a better spiritual preparation for Christmas than we have ever had in the past.

May this season of advent bring spiritual renewal in our life. Peace be with you. Amen.

Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent Year B, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp