1st Sunday of Advent Year B
Isa.63:16-17; 64:1-8; 1Cor.1:3-9; Mk.13:33-37
In A.D. 204, Hippolytus, a Christian writer in Rome, recorded that a Bishop was convinced that the Lord was going to return immediately. He urged his followers to sell all of their land and possessions and to follow him into the wilderness to await the Lord’s coming.
At the end of the first millennium, anticipation of the Second Coming ran high. On the last day of 999, the basilica of St. Peter’s at Rome was filled with people who were weeping and trembling waiting for the world to end.
It was in 1978 that the media flashed the shocking news of the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana of 914 American men and women, members of a doomsday cult, The Peoples Temple, at the instruction of their paranoid leader Rev. Warren (Jim) Jones. They thought that they knew God and His ways but they were mistaken. They read wrongly.
Sometimes we come with expectations, or at times, we can expect the expected or expect the unexpected.
First, people expect a perfect, a ready-made Church or world, trouble-free relationships or super beings. There are other expectations which are little deeper. We tend to assume or desire things in a particular way, or view life as predictable. Many attempt to understand events in such manner. They tend to apply cause-effect or sow-reap or give-receive theories to life.
But there are some events that we can expect. The bible records account of this, the predictable. They are the prophecies to the People of God or the promises of God. We have Isaiah’s exile-return account, or the Corinthian people’s persecution-deliverance experience, or Paul’s faith lived-loved by God dynamics. Paul believed in this expected, when he said:”the grace of God is poured abundantly on those who walk their living faith in Christ Jesus”.
What are the unexpected? These are the surprises, never anticipated or factored in when making our calculations. There are many of them. The times or timings of the ‘return from exile’, our return to the Lord, the Second Coming and the return of the Lord. Besides the unpredictability of time, grace moments, its flashes, its explosions or God entering into our space are among the many unexpected. These moments are when God moves into our lives, fills us with happiness and overwhelms with His love. If we are a believer, expect the unexpected. The “day of the Lord” has come.
The Day of the Lord is here when a deep awakening begins in us or among our people:
- The sense of sin: The Israelite in Exilic time saw that they had strayed, that their hearts had hardened, that they had sinned and rebelled and that there was no more invoking of God’s name.
- The sense of helplessness: They were aware and admitted that they had withered and were easily blown away, had given way to the power of sin
- The sense of the Ways of God: They knew intuitively that He was their Father, Redeemer, who moved mountains and tore open the heavens, guided the trusting and angry with the sinners. The greatest image imprinted in them was God as the potter and they, the clay.
- The sense of self in God: They professed that they were the works of the Lord.
- The sense of grace: Paul reminded the Corinthians of their call in Jesus Christ, to be doorkeepers, for the gifts and enrichment
The signs challenge us to be FOCUSED on 1) what we are sensing and 2) what we ought to be doing. As doorkeepers to our soul and to our flock, being on guard, staying awake and being ready when the master appears. The Day of the Lord is the Day of our Return from Exile or the Return of the Master into our lives. BE READY FOR THE MASTER, O DOORKEEPERS!