Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: Prepare to welcome the Lord
By: Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Homily for Sunday December 1 2019
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a season of vigilant waiting that prepares us to welcome the Lord. At our parish, St John Paul II we have prepared youth conference running from December 4-6 at St Mark’s Secondary School. At least 171 youth have registered.
We shall use the logo of the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019; the theme chosen by Pope Francis: “Baptized and Sent.” The topic for the conference will be centered on Moral and Spiritual development.
Morality refers to personal or cultural values and codes of conduct, how we choose to live and conduct ourselves. Our ability to learn the difference between right or wrong and understand how to make the right choices.
Examples of moral values include, being honest and trustworthy, being courageous, never giving up, adding value to the world, being patient and taking personal responsibility.
Whereas, Spiritual development, in essence, is to believe in something beyond the material universe and to develop an awareness of realities beyond the confines of time and space, one purpose is to help make children virtuous—honest, responsible, and compassionate.
Another is to make mature young people informed and reflective about important and controversial moral issues.
There are seven stages a human moves through during his or her life span. These stages include infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood and old age.
That is why in our pastoral, we include all these stages. We take care of Pontifical Missionary Childhood (P.M.C), from age 0-14 years following Jesus’ command: ‘’let the little children come to me’’ And so I say let us follow Him courageously and joyfully.
From age 3-17 years, we take care of liturgical dancers. In Exodus 15:20-21, when the Israelites were crossing the Red Sea. Miriam, who was a prophetess and sister to Moses, who was leading the Israelite, gathered the women to perform a song and dance in worship after they had crossed the Red Sea.
Also, in 2 Samuel 6, when King David brought back the Ark of Covenant, the Israelite danced as they celebrated the great deeds of God. From the Biblical times to the 19th Century, dancing as a form of Christian worship and celebration was popular and common among the congregation.
From age 7- 20 years, we also take care of young people who are baptized and sent to be altar servers. They attend Holy Mass on every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation when physically possible. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly. Cultivate a personal prayer life within the Church.
From age 16-25 years, we take care of the youth. Traditionally, youth is considered to be a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Some young people choose to attend a youth ministry, where they can learn, communicate and grow in a safe and faithful environment.
From age 26-40 years, we take care of young adults, then Catholic Men Association and Catholic Women Association and old age and the sick through outreach ministry.
The inspiring messages that Pope Francis has for young people in Christus vivit apply to all these development stages. Just as young people are urged “to accept the authority of those who are older” (1 Pet 5:5), parents and guardians are also urged to care for their children in love.
The fourth commandment calls on young people to honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land God has given us.”
As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom.
Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones. Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.
Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.
Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents. Each and every one should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.
The first reading is taken from Jeremiah 33:14-16, the second reading is from 1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2, the Gospel is from Luke 21:25-28,34-36, in which Jesus teaches his disciples to be vigilant so that they will be ready when the Son of Man comes in glory.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ