First Sunday of Advent A

When Will The Day of the Lord Come?

Joke: One Sunday after church, a mother was talking to her young daughter. She told her daughter that, according to the Bible, Jesus will return to earth someday. "When is he coming back?" the daughter asked. "I don't know," replied the mother. "Can't you look it up on the Internet?" the little girl asked.

Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, once shared his thoughts on the attitudes of awakening that on the ship, people enjoyed eating, drinking and dancing, but on the deck of the ship, there was someone looking out for any storms in their path. This man was watching not for the safety of himself, but for the entirety of the ship.

Advent season is a season that we are invited to be awaken to wait for the Lord to come. Each one of us is invited to be like that man fully awakes to watch, not for him, but for all those in the ship. We are all in this journey of life, the ship in the midst of the ocean, each one of us is invited to be alert of what might come ahead of us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminded us the story of Noah that people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, dancing and having fun as if it’s in a normal life. The day that Noah entered the ark, they did not know until the flood came and carried them away. Jesus then concluded that it will also be at the coming of the Son of Man. Therefore, stay awake. The question is: How would we stay awake when we already missed the day the Lord came more than two-thousand years ago? The mystery of the Incarnation, looking from the historical angle, the Savior had already come in Bethlehem of Palestine, Israel. This was a fact. There would be no other birth of another Savior. From spiritual angle, each one of us is invited to put on Christ, to become more like Christ each day of our Christian life. How could we become more like Christ each day of our Christian daily life?

In his famous book Confessions, Saint Augustine explains that his conversion to Catholicism was not instantaneous. He had a strong desire to become Catholic, especially after befriending Saint Ambrose. His one problem was to practice some of the Church’s teaching, especially that of chastity. To the point that he asked God to make him chaste, but not yet because he still loved the sins of the flesh. Out of his frustration and battling in his head, he retreated to a garden for a deep contemplation of his soul one day. In his Confessions, he heard a child’s voice implore him to “pick up and read” the copy of Sacred Scripture he had brought into the garden with him. Immediately, he opened the book to Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans 13:13-14 reported in today’s second reading saying, “Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” Augustine read this passage at the very young age since he was a smart boy, but the Word of God never touched him until this moment. His ears opened, and his heart received God’s word and changed him forever. He became a great philosopher and great theologian in the Catholic Church that every seminarian in training for the priest learned him both in undergraduate and graduate schools.

What was so important in the passage of Saint Paul that converted Saint Augustine? Perhaps, it was what Saint Paul said in, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” Advent season is a time that we are all invited to put on Christ and to make no supply for the desires of the flesh. How would we do it? Saint Paul reminds us in today’s second reading saying, “Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy.” Or rather, he is saying to try and not be a liar nor a cheat, try to be truthful to ourselves and to others. Try not to incline to the pleasure of the flesh nor giving free rein to the pleasure of the mind by using drugs, alcohol and sexual acts either with our lustful eyes, lustful thoughts or actions. Learn to humble ourselves and not jealous with others of what they have that we don’t have. In all things, learn to put on Christ, who humbles himself to lower himself to be like all of us, except sins, to strip off himself being God to be like all of us to be born from a woman’s womb. He learned to be totally obedient to God the Father the moment he accepted to be born of a Virgin Mother.

In waiting for his second coming, we are invited each year to put on Christ to stay awake in wait for his coming. How should we stay awake in waiting for his second coming if it’s not to conduct ourselves properly or to conform our will to God’s will in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions? How should we conduct ourselves properly or to conform our will to God’s will? The decision is yours.

 

Weekend Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Nguyen


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