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First Sunday of Advent (Homily) – C

Posted by frmac on November 28, 2009

Advent Picture H.

(Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25; I Thessalonians 3: 12-4:2; Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36)

Advent is my favorite liturgical season. In some ways the picture chosen for our bulletin this Sunday gives some explanation of this. For me this picture represents the darkness that we all know in life, the mystery and beauty of life, the hope that comes with each dawn, and the power and majesty of the Creator. It is advent that reminds me of all that God has done, is doing, and promises to do in the future. And of course, hovering all around us during advent are reminders of the  first Christmas, that God loved us so much he/she became one of us– the infant Jesus. What a magnificent day it will be when Jesus comes again in Glory! Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus, the Christian Church prays in hope during this remarkable season.

Advent is the Church’s New Year, and I have to admit that I sometimes wish the Gospel readings were more upbeat and comforting than they are on this first Sunday. Sure we hear about the coming of Jesus with power and great glory, but in a rather fearful, mysterious, and intimidating way.  Listen again to some of the warning sentences from this Sunday’s passage from Luke:(Luke 21:25-28, 34-36)

“There will be signs in the Sun, the moon, and the stars and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. Be alert at all times….”

Now we all know this is an apocalyptic way of speaking filled with symbolism to catch our attention, and indeed it does – at least in my case. And maybe this is a good thing. It is like having a pail of cold water thrown on us to revive us, and get our attention. Advent, when fully embraced and celebrated, is a sacred journey – reflecting life’s journey. It is a time for remembering, a time for waiting and prayer, and a time for joyful hope and anticipation. It is a time to decide on what we have and need to have in our life, and of what we need to let go of. Ultimately, advent is about the great mystery of life and God’s revelation of how life should be lived. If you are like me it is easy to get distracted and forget, and advent is that great reminder that we have to focus our attention on what is most important. Here is a little poem that I think might help us:


I am. I was. I will be.
I am not coming soon I am here.
I was born on a cold night in a cold place
Unnoticed, unheralded by cold people
Who turned my mother away.
On that night were you listening?
On that night the “least of your brothers” was me.
Now do you see, do you hear and do you care?
I am not coming soon I am here.
In your life do you see me
In the ragged men and women
Who search the cold street
Looking for my reflection in your heart?
Do you hear my voice in
Their muttered plea or in their tear?
I am not coming soon I am here.
Do you hear me when your friend turns to you
To ask forgiveness and trust?
Do I not forgive you always?
Do I not give you a merciful ear?
I am not coming soon I am here.
In this season I was born unto you
Fulfilling the promise of God’s care.
Look for me, listen to me…
I am not coming soon I am here.*

Welcome to Advent and the New Church Year – May God inspire us all in God’s ways. Happy New Year!

*W. H. Smaw
© Copyright 2003 by W. H. Smaw (link:


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