First Sunday of Advent
I Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
As Advent begins and we welcome the beginning of a new church year, I have been reflecting on how can we be Advent people? Advent people are like a three-legged chair, it is about faith, charity and hope. What really challenges me is to be a person of hope, because never in my life time has there been a sense of hopelessness in the world and in our lives? We have the threat of terrorist’s attacks, immigration issues, shootings and killings and that is globally and nationally. How about our own personal lives? But what we think is hope is really wishful thinking. We hope our team wins; we hope for nicer weather; we hope we get what we want for Christmas. The hope that I am talking about begins when all else fails. Christian hope is standing rock solid in the face of everything and anything and knowing that our God is doing all he can to see us through. Our readings give us pearls of wisdom of how to be hopeful Advent people.
In our reading from Jeremiah, he speaks of being Advent people by remaining faithful to God even though they are to be taken over by the Babylonian’s. King Zedekiah’s has not been faithful to God, but God will continue to be faithful to his people. Jeremiah gives them a vision of what they can only imagine, which is beyond their dreaming. Comfort will come to them from “just a shoot.”
St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians speaks about being Advent people by being filled with charity. We hear his very own prayer that they grow in love for another, and then they will grow in holiness. Paul says, “I think you have done enough! You can do more!” How often when we are feeling hopeless, it becomes all about us! Paul is encouraging us to think of others.
In our Gospel, we are given the last leg of the chair of Advent people, and that is to be filled with hope. We are to trust in God to give us the strength despite temptation and persecution. We are to be watchful and alert, prayerful and humble, trusting in God at all times. When hopelessness over comes us, the texts says “to stand up.” The original Greek word means “to be stood up.” We don’t do the standing; God will stand us up. I love that!
My friends in Christ, let us be Advent people, by being people of hope. Pick one area of our lives where we have felt hopelessness, try this week with all of our might to replace that with hope. The Eucharist is given to us to know what hope really is.