Homily for the first Sunday of Advent

Year B  -  Mk. 13:33-37


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Jesus said:  «Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore--for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning-- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all:  Watch.»"



Homily:


"Jesus said:  «Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.»"

Today, the first Sunday of Advent 1999, begins the liturgical year during which most of the Jubilee Year 2000 will take place.  Together, in communion with the entire Church and the Pope, we shall celebrate the anniversary of the coming of the Son of God.  Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent his Son, who is one God with him, to become flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, through the mysterious intervention of the Spirit of God, the Spirit who is Holy and who sanctifies the Church!

This new liturgical year is thus situated in a context that is completely divine and mysterious:  that of the Most Holy Trinity.  God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, who is at once both God and Man.  In Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Trinity, in the divine person of the Son, is wholly in communion with humanity, created in the image and likeness of God.  But God's profound desire is to communicate himself to each and every one of the men and women who have ever lived on earth, from the creation to the end of the world.  So, day after day, God, as Trinity, reveals himself to an ever greater extent; the very Mystery of God becomes ever better known to more and more men and women though their union with Christ.

The further on we go in time, and thus the closer we get to the day when Christ will return to earth, the more God's Revelation of himself becomes manifest, and the more universally it will be known.  This helps us to discover the intense and profound joy to be found in every sincere desire for Christ's return to earth.  For, if the Day of the Lord is a day of sadness for the impious, it is on the contrary a day of joy for believers! It is in this spirit, thanks to the strength and power of the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts, that we must respond to the Lord's invitation:  "Take heed, ... Watch!"

"It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore--for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning-- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."

Jesus tells us a short parable to help us understand what is going on today, in the age in which we find ourselves. For, today, Jesus is gone, after having come to earth two thousand years ago.  And, today, we await his return at the end of time. We live in a time in which we should keep watch;  we live in a time when vigilance and prudence are needed.  If we do not pay attention to the time in which we live, then Jesus, upon his return, will find us asleep, like the Apostles he had taken with him to the Garden of Gethsemane...

We must watch, for he whom we await, he who is already in us in hope, is a jealous God.  God is a God of Love, for he is Love.  And if he comes to make his dwelling place in us - if the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are truly united to our soul - this can only be the case if we love these three divine persons with a love that is limitless and undivided.  The revelation which God wants to accomplish in us does not consist of simple intellectual knowledge: it is rather a knowledge of love, a knowledge which has for its foundation the mutual love between God and us.  This is why it is absolutely necessary to be watchful, in order that we do not allow this flame of love to grow faint, and so that we can ceaselessly bring to this flame what it needs to burn bright.

If we read this parable attentively, we see that its details lead us to consider the importance of the role of Saint Peter and his Successors in the Church.  For, besides the fact that this parable is found in the gospel of Saint Mark, which is based on the catechesis of Saint Peter, Jesus takes care to say that the master who goes on a journey delegates his authority to someone, and that he commands the doorkeeper to keep watch.  Now, it is Saint Peter who has received from Jesus the power of the keys: a power through which Saint Peter is the delegate and Vicar of Christ on earth, and keys through which Saint Peter is the doorkeeper who must watch for the return of his master.

If the Trinity of Love realizes the unity of all those to whom he wants to reveal himself, then Saint Peter, and his Successor the Pope, who presides in Charity, is certainly not a stranger to the realization of this revelation and of this communion in Love.  The Pope, Successor to Saint Peter, is he who, through his ministry, for the sake of all of us, promotes the expansion of the kingdom of God on earth, vigilantly awaiting for the return of the Lord!

May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, she who is closest to the Heart of God, aid us with her prayer so that, each day of our life, we too may become intimate friends of the Heart of Christ!