Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent

See the Signs of God Coming

Federal elections are due in a few months and the politicians are in campaign mode now. Their challenge is to show how they will brighten up the apparently bleak future. COVID restrictions caused a lot of anxiety in terms of economy, mental health, personal freedom, and wellbeing. Climate change and related issues are presenting a gloomy picture. Foreign relations and policies, especially with China, have been worrying many. In these gloomy scenario, the politicians are challenged to take cues from these matters and tell us how they see the future is promising. On the first Sunday of Advent, the Gospel is about recognising a promising future for Christians even in the midst of calamities.

The early Christian Community of Luke went through the horrors of persecution of the Christians by Nero and other rulers, a devastating war in which the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. In such a situation, what hope the Christians could have for the Kingdom of God? Answering this question, the Gospel uses various prophetic passages from the Old Testament, either explicitly or implicitly. The thread that binds the prophetic verses is their interpretation of the Babylonian assault on Israel and the deportation of the Jews seven centuries before Christ. The prophets showed God’s hand was at work even through the darkest days of the history of Israel. God re-established Israel and its temple. These verses are re-read in Luke to promise that the Kingdom of God will be established in the name of Jesus, in spite of the atrocities and disasters they experience. Thus the Gospel is helping Christians to interpret the world around them through the eyes of the Scripture. Christians are not to succumb to fear and uncertainty. Be alert to all that is happening around you. Find strength in your faith to see God’s Kingdom unfolding trough the events of your own life and around you. When you see the trees sprout leaves, you know that the cold and dark winter is over and a warm and sunny summer is approaching. Similarly, as a disciple of Christ you should be able to read the signs of God’s Kingdom emerging even in difficult times. As we start preparing to celebrate the birth of God into human history and story, see how God’s coming is continuing in varied ways in your life and in the world. We are in preparation, not just for the birth anniversary of Jesus, but the ongoing coming of God and his presence in our present time.