1st Sunday of Advent
Waiting is not our strong point. We do not enjoy waiting. Do you? Most people consider ‘waiting’ as a waste of time. In a society where time is equated to productivity, and productivity is money, we do not want to wait. Waiting – or wasting time waiting – is considered as wasting money (or at least losing an opportunity to earn money).
In this context, how does one approach the season of Advent that proposes four weeks of waiting in preparation for Christmas? How does one convince people, who are under great pressure from powerful and persuasive modern media, of the redemptive meaning and value of waiting?
Before I answer that, allow me first to say this: Waiting plays a big part in our lives – perhaps we can even say that what we ‘wait’ or hope for gives direction to our lives. What we wait and prepare for reveals the things we love, and the kind of life we dream of. There are people who ‘expect’ to have more money and wealth, and they are willing to sacrifice everything for money – time, health, friendships, honor, principle. There are some who ‘wait’ for every chance to grab power, and they are ready to do everything just to be powerful – cheating, lying, intimidation, violence, compromise. There are some who always “look for” ways to enjoy or satisfy or gratify themselves and they spend their lives moving from pleasure to pleasure – over-eating, drinking, gambling, sex, or drugs.
Kung dito sa mga bagay na ito nakatuon ang mga puso natin, hindi natin magagawang maghintay nang may pananabik at mapaghahandaan nang may galak ang pagdating ng Panginoon. Kung hindi nga tayo magbabantay ay maaaring ang mga ito pa ang gumuhit ng direksyon ng buhay natin.
We come once again to Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year and the great season of waiting. Ang Advent ay hindi dapat maging isang season lang para sa atin. Bagkus, dapat itong maging isang attitude, isang stance, isang uri ng pamumuhay para sa atin. Christian life has a permanent Advent quality, for we are always waiting for the coming of the Lord. Ang buong buhay natin ay dapat maging isang pananabik, pagnanasa at paghihintay sa Panginoon. Ang pamumuhay natin ay dapat maging isang paghahanda sa pagdating ng Panginoon sa buhay natin.
Somebody said, “We are an Advent people. We live not satisfiedbut plagued with thirst for the coming of the Lord.” Indeed, we are not satisfied… and that is why in this Advent season we express our hunger and thirst for the coming of the Lord. However, the tragic reality is that we often do not recognize the source of our emptiness or restlessness. Kung anu-ano na lang ang pinangpupuno natin sa emptiness na ito: pera at materyal na bagay, iba’t ibang thrill and excitement,gimik at parties, worldly entertainment and sensual pleasure,kina-career ang pagpapaganda at pagpapa-sexy.Hindi naman masama ang mga bagay na ito. Pero dapat nating mabatid na ang mga ito ay walang kakayahan na punuan ang kahungkagan na nararanasan natin.They only anaesthetize our longings but do not fulfill them. They only leave us emptier! Only Jesus Christ, the Lord who comes, can fill the emptiness in our life. Only the Lord can satisfy our deepest hunger and thirst. Only the Lord can fulfill our desires and longings.
Remember: The Lord comes – he always comes. Advent calls us to be aware of this truth and to act accordingly. Since the Lord comes, then, we should always be prepared. It is not enough for us to say that God comes, rather, we should also come to God.
Advent recognizes the fact and the truth that the entry of Christ into our life, into every part of our life, is still unfinished. There is still much of us that needs to be redeemed: like dark corners to be illumined, unclean recesses to be cleansed, empty spaces to be filled up, wounded parts to be healed, broken pieces to be restored.
Each year, we discover that there is more of our life into which Jesus needs to be welcomed – to be born! That is why Advent is about the expectation of new light, of cleansing spirit, of sufficient fill, of much-needed restoration and healing. Advent is about a new birth of Christ in us. It is about the Lord’s coming into our life.
Our Advent waiting is an expression of our longing for the One who is to come: the one who can give meaning to our life… the one who can give us a sense of fulfillment… the one who can complete our incompleteness… the one who can bring us happiness and joy… the one who can give us the fullness of life.