Fr. Ben’s homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent Year C
Theme: WATCHING & WAITING!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Sunday November 28 2021
*Jer 33 : 14 – 16, 1 Thess 3 : 12 – 4 : 2, Lk 21 : 25 – 36.
The advent season is a special season of watching and waiting. It is a season that is marked by the liturgical colour of purple – a colour that evokes the sense of sobriety. This colour is used during lent and funeral ceremonies. Every Advent season has the two fold character of waiting for Christ’s coming as a Saviour and His coming as a Judge.
*Story of a drunkard who was saved by his friend from drowning after drinking. He continued the drinking habit and 20 years later was arraigned for a murder case before his friend again, this time not as his saviour but as his judge.
B. THE PROMISE
God makes us a promise through the Prophet Jeremiah that the days are coming when a righteous branch shall spring forth for David who will practice and teach us honesty and integrity in the land. This is exactly what Jesus has done. He tells us in today’s gospel that there will be signs in the sun and moon and the stars…and then they will see the Son of Man coming in glory.
This coming in glory (the parousia) has two dimensions; on individual basis at our death/ individual judgment and on universal basis at the end of time for the universal judgment. The immediate context in which Jesus spoke in today’s gospel is the prophesy about the destruction of the Jerusalem city. It later happened in 70AD when over 97,000 Jews were taken captives and 11,000 people perished by slow starvation and the sword. But not a single Christian perished because they heeded the prophetic warnings of Jesus and fled to Pella.
C. MESSAGE OF VIGILANCE
Let us be warned against the triumph of evil in our society today. We need to repent and flee before the wrath of God is unleashed against our Country Nigeria where bribery and corruption is becoming the order of the day inspite of all the noise of fake Christianity and Islam. Countries like Japan and China that are dominated by other non Christian religions seem to be doing better than us in the area of hardwork and discipline just because the brand of Christianity being practiced in Nigeria is the fake one.
Jesus warns us against the life of debauchery, drunkenness and materialism. These three sins have taken a strong grip of many of our political leaders encouraging a lot of wastage and consumerism. Jesus recommends 3 attitudes/ disposition for Christians in preparation for his coming:
1. Be watchful; He used the phrase: ‘Stand erect and hold your heads high’. There should be no form of drunkenness.
*Advice of a wounded wife of a drunkard who killed his 2 daughters with a knife. The only surviving son also became an addict of marijuana and killed himself. The woman now advises young ladies: ‘Do not be drawn into the madness of marrying a drunkard’.
2. Be holy; Being holy according to St Theresa of the Child Jesus is having extraordinary perfection in our ordinary duties. Imagine lecturers teach their students without exploitation, clerks in the offices push people’s files without asking for bribe, leaders being accountable for public funds, etc.
3. Be prayerful; We must pray always like Jesus our master did; At his baptism, before choosing his apostles, at Gethsemane, at the transfiguration, during the last supper, on the Cross, daily midnight prayer, etc. James told us: ‘You have not because you ask not, and when you ask and receive not, it is because you pray wrongly’, James 4 : 1 – 3.
The way we receive him liturgically at every Christmas will mirror the way we will receive him at his 2nd coming (parousia). If we do not develop the habit of being vigilant now then the Lord will surely find us sleeping. We must endeavor to break with every habit of sin and learn to be in a state of grace all the time.
I don’t know what other warning signals Christians are waiting for in Nigeria to begin to change our priorities and try to live out the message of the gospel. Christ has told us in the parable of the sower about the tragedy of the seeds that fell among thorns; cares of this world and the allurements of riches and worldly pleasures choke the Word they hear and they yield nothing, Mk 4 : 18 – 19.
O my God! This seems to be the fate of so many Christians, especially Church leaders in Nigeria today. Unless we get back to the discipline of praying and fasting, we cannot be spiritually sober to see the sinking ship of this ‘Titanic’ called Nigeria. We will only remain busy rearranging the seats of our sinking ship – we will be busy building the physical structures of the Church without the spiritual aspects. Happy Sunday dear friends!