1st Sunday of Advent

Catholic Handicapped Day

First reading: Is. 2:1–5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Second reading: Rom. 13:11–14

Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Gospel: Mt. 24:37–44

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

In other words 

Fr. Lino E. Nicasio, SVD (National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, Manila)

We are grateful to have government agencies like PAGASA to warn us about coming typhoons, flooding, and possible landslides. This way people are informed well in advance so that they may take the necessary preparations and precautions. However, some disregard such warnings, sometimes scoffing, “Hello, don’t you see the clear blue sky? What typhoon are you talking about? I’m not leaving; I’m staying right here to show you how wrong you are about your stupid predictions.” Then it happens.

The illustration above mirrors what Jesus recounts about Noah and the flood. People saw what Noah was doing, and no doubt they were given an explanation. But did they listen? Did they care? Not a bit; they just went on with business as usual until it happened.

Now the warning is given to us: Be watchful and stay awake because the Lord, Supreme Judge of all, is coming on a day we don’t know. Thus it would be wise to prepare for his coming. How? Through repentance/sacramental confession to begin with, followed by a new way of life centered on God and service to others, with special care to avoid sin and near occasions of sin.

There are communities living near rivers or mountainsides who at all times have their belongings ready for instant evacuation in case the need arises. They have learned to be prepared and ready at all times for the coming of typhoons, floods, and landslides. Should we not apply such wisdom regarding the unknown time and day of the Lord’s coming? The people of the great flood sure regretted having disregarded Noah’s warning as they perished. Now Jesus himself warns us to be ready and prepared at all times for his “surprise return.” Are we going to risk it all by not preparing, or gain it all by being ready to welcome the Lord? Are we going to be people of the flood or the people of the Lord? We better decide before it is too late.

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