First Sunday of Advent

Fr. Ike Udoh, SJ

First Sunday of Advent

Jeremiah 33:14-16 | 1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2 | Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Where do you go when your whole world is shaken?  What do you do when things as you know it are suddenly changed?   Sooner or later, your world as you know it will experience an earthquake.  Somebody dies, your home is destroyed, you are violated, the spouse you thought loved you can’t stand to look in your eyes anymore, the church you loved has some shepherds who have abused the sheep and those most vulnerable.  Your sense of safety is shattered and you are left insecure.  These are some of the descriptions and words we find in our readings.  Distress and tension from different circumstances, perplexity, anxiety, doubt, things unforeseen and unexpected, feeling oneself divided and separated from the whole.  And Jesus does not say, you will have no problems or trials.  He says pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent.  Elsewhere he says, “in the world you will have trouble, but fear not because I have overcome the world.” 

When everything is shaken, what is left?  Is there a place we can be planted and be safe and secure?  The answer is no.  If you are trying to find a place to go where you will be safe in this life, you will not find it, because heaven and earth will pass away, everything will be shaken, and all that we see will pass away.  There is no place you will be safe and secure, but there is a person whose paths the psalmist says are kindness and constancy.  One whose promise and word is secure, because that word can never return void.  It causes things to be, it is effective, and it cannot fail.  This is the word that created all things, the word that warned Noah of a coming flood, the word of promise to Abraham when he was childless that he would be a father of many nations, the word given to Moses, I have heard my peoples cry and will deliver them from bondage,  the word to David that his kingdom will have no end, the word that became flesh in Jesus, the word that death could not destroy.  We either put our trust in him and in his promise, or we will be swallowed by our sins and death and suffer eternal loss when all things are shakenThere is only one thing that overcomes the world, i.e. our faith in him.  There is only one sure foundation on which to build our lives, hearing his word and living it out.

What you fear might happen, death may take a loved one, you may lose many things, you may be hurt and suffer pain, but God whose word and promise are sure, has sworn an oath never to leave you or forsake you.  In him we place our hope.  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, for our Shepherd is at our side.  When a mother feels the birth pangs, it is not time to give in, but to push, because of the promise of new life.  Do not give up now!   Father!  Give us strength to push beyond the pain and tribulations, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ. 

 

 

Where do you go when your whole world is shaken?  What do you do when things as you know it are suddenly changed?   Sooner or later, your world as you know it will experience an earthquake.  Somebody dies, your home is destroyed, you are violated, the spouse you thought loved you can’t stand to look in your eyes anymore, the church you loved has some shepherds who have abused the sheep and those most vulnerable.  Your sense of safety is shattered and you are left insecure.  These are some of the descriptions and words we find in our readings.  Distress and tension from different circumstances, perplexity, anxiety, doubt, things unforeseen and unexpected, feeling oneself divided and separated from the whole.  And Jesus does not say, you will have no problems or trials.  He says pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent.  Elsewhere he says, “in the world you will have trouble, but fear not because I have overcome the world.” 

When everything is shaken, what is left?  Is there a place we can be planted and be safe and secure?  The answer is no.  If you are trying to find a place to go where you will be safe in this life, you will not find it, because heaven and earth will pass away, everything will be shaken, and all that we see will pass away.  There is no place you will be safe and secure, but there is a person whose paths the psalmist says are kindness and constancy.  One whose promise and word is secure, because that word can never return void.  It causes things to be, it is effective, and it cannot fail.  This is the word that created all things, the word that warned Noah of a coming flood, the word of promise to Abraham when he was childless that he would be a father of many nations, the word given to Moses, I have heard my peoples cry and will deliver them from bondage,  the word to David that his kingdom will have no end, the word that became flesh in Jesus, the word that death could not destroy.  We either put our trust in him and in his promise, or we will be swallowed by our sins and death and suffer eternal loss when all things are shakenThere is only one thing that overcomes the world, i.e. our faith in him.  There is only one sure foundation on which to build our lives, hearing his word and living it out.

What you fear might happen, death may take a loved one, you may lose many things, you may be hurt and suffer pain, but God whose word and promise are sure, has sworn an oath never to leave you or forsake you.  In him we place our hope.  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil, for our Shepherd is at our side.  When a mother feels the birth pangs, it is not time to give in, but to push, because of the promise of new life.  Do not give up now!   Father!  Give us strength to push beyond the pain and tribulations, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ.