for the first Sunday of Advent
Is 2:1-5 - Rm 13:11-14 - Mt 24:37-44
by Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
us love one another:
Is 2:3, Many peoples shall come, and say: «Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.» For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4, He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
The season of Advent prepares the Christian faithful for the feast of Christmas. In a more general way, Advent serves to prepare us for the coming of Christ at the end of time, that coming in glory of which the Mystery of Christmas is but a pale symbol. To prepare ourselves for the Return of the Lord in a liturgical manner, by celebrating the time of Advent, is to celebrate the coming of the Lord through signs, signs that are the very foundation of all liturgy. It is also to study the signs of the times, to try to understand what the Lord himself wants to tell us today!
From this Sunday's first reading, I make note of this passage: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." From which comes the title of this homily: Let us love one another: let us not make war! A rather pacifist expression, a slogan that is in the air nowadays... It is true... Peace! Peace! All of us, today, wish for Peace... Is this, too, not a sign of the times, a sign that announces the coming of the Lord? "You yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, «There is peace and security,» then sudden destruction will come upon them..." (1 Thess 5:2-3)
In a few days (Tuesday and next Sunday), we will read this text from Isaiah: "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them..." (Is 11:6) Is this realizable? Why not? Nothing is impossible for God (cf. Lk 1:37). Have you heard of the lioness in Kenya that, in December 2001 and the following months, adopted three young gazelles successively, treating them as if they were her own cubs? A sign of the times? Maybe not... For this may well have happened in earlier times, without anyone knowing about it. And what seems to be a sign of the times is precisely that we know of it, that we know about the entire world thanks to television and the internet! See:
Rm 13:12, The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13, let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
According to Isaiah, if we were to listen the voice of the Lord, who is the Light of the world, we would understand, in faith, that we must transform our weapons of war and destruction into instruments and tools of culture and construction: They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Having become dwellers in the House of God and members of the Body of Christ, we must reject the weapons of darkness and war, in order to take up the armor of light destined to build up the whole Body of Christ. As Saint Paul says in today's second reading, let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let us love one another: let us not make war! If it is possible, no doubt by a miracle, for a lioness to accompany a gazelle, how could it not also be possible, by the grace of God, for man himself to get along with his neighbor, instead of waging war against him? At the very least, let us hope and ask the Lord to grant that the Love of God and men dominate the world, thus making war the least of human concerns! Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Mt 24:37-39 & 42
Mt 24:37, As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 38, For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 42, Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
What Jesus says concerning the circumstances of his Return at the end of time does not lead us to hope that many men and women will experience that Day as the most beautiful one of their life... Indeed, how many will keep watch, awaiting in faith and love for the Return of the Son of God? Will we be among them? Are we already among them? Let us not forget our Credo: "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, ... He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end... I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."
Saint John of the Cross liked to say: "In the evening of this life, we will be judged on love." (Saint John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love, no. 57) Everyone, whether Christian or non-Christian, can love their neighbor, and reject war. Through Mary, the Mother of Fair Love, may the men and women of this world live ever more in the love of God and neighbor!