BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa


Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44.

My Rector in the Seminary, Rev. Fr. Peter Tanko described his imagination about preparing for Christ in a worldly manner. He wrote: “Supposing God had given us the job of preparing for his coming into the world, how could we have gone about arranging the details? We would have started by forming a committee with an elected chairman. The chairman would appoint sub-committees with the responsibility of handling one aspect of the project or the other. There will be a welcoming committee. They will choose those who will line up at the airport. From the airport, there will be a motorcade of the world’s dignitaries, and the masses will line up on both sides of the road singing, clapping, and whispering: ‘I hope I will set my eyes on him.’ Then there will be a banquet committee. Here, women who will be privileged to serve at the table will have to dress in their best clothes and make-up, hoping that the Guest of Honour. will blink and maybe fall in love and give them a ticket to heaven. There will be an entertainment committee to make sure that the best dancers are chosen. There would be a security committee whose duty would involve making sure that no mafia agent shoots the Guest of Honour. Finally, and God forgive us, there would be a ticket committee to give everyone the opportunity to see God.”

Fr. Tanko succinctly captures how the world often misses the point in preparing to celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas. The liturgical season of advent is already here. The word advent comes from the Latin advenire, which is to come). It is a preparatory season for the arrival or coming of Jesus. Four Sundays are set aside for this preparation for Christmas.

The prophet Isaiah tells the people of Israel that the best way to prepare for the coming of the Saviour is to transform their swords into ploughshares. This is to say they are to convert their weapons of war into farming implements. This statement of the prophet is pregnant with meaning. He was calling for a total overhauling of lifestyle; an end to strife and war; re-channeling of energy from fighting a “bad fight” into fighting a “good fight.”

The words of the prophet speak to our hearts as he challenges us to think twice about all kinds of wars around us: internal wars going on in our hearts, cold wars, silent wars, wars of words, family wars, wars of attrition, civil wars, guerilla wars, trade wars, psychological wars, unending quarrels, and bitter conflicts. He does not only call us to sheath our swords but to turn our swords into ploughshares, to redirect our energies into fighting for a good cause such as waging a non-violent war against poverty, all forms of injustice, corruption, etc.

Destructive wars are works of darkness and this is where the letter to the Romans strongly calls us to “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.” These works of darkness are mentioned as “jealousies and rivalries.” We must not be drawn into bitter fights and quarrels even when those who constantly work against us confront us. We must not relent in making our contribution towards creating that new world which the scripture calls “New heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65:17 & 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation (21:1).


Too often, so many things compete for our attention during the Christmas preparation and we tend to forget the reason for the season. We become too busy with a shopping spree, Christmas decorations, food, drinks, travel, holidays, etc. As we engage in all these, we must not forget Jesus whose birth anniversary we prepare to celebrate, and his second coming, which we anticipate. The Apostle Paul advised the Romans to live a simple life and not get lost in orgies of drunkenness, promiscuity, and lust (cf. Romans 13:11-14). Jesus gave an example of the days of Noah when people were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. The consequence is they missed the saving ark. Those who entered the ark were saved from the destructive flood, but the flood swept those who were lost in the affairs of the world away.

The season of advent affords us the opportunity of entering into the saving ark of Jesus the saviour. The reason for the season of advent is to enable us to prepare spiritually and adequately to prepare for the great celebration of Christmas. The famous theologian Karl Rahner says: “Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.” Yes, it is the season is a season of hope and longing for a whole new world, and more importantly a new heart.



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