First Advent 2015 Year C
Sometimes we have good ideas to share with people but we decide to keep quiet. Sometimes we have opportunity to encourage others but we choose to be silent. Sometimes we have the strength to move on with good options prompted by God but we postpone our action plan. During this Year C cycle of Advent 2015, the Archdiocese invites us to focus on the theme:
Stand up for the sake of Christ
We are called to stand up for the sake of the promises of God has made, and the promises He continues to make:
“The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
when I will fulfil the promise
I made to the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
In those days and at that time
I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David;
and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).
These days we see, hear and receive promises from many people: promise of a job, promise of home, promise of a great book, even promise of a great website to visit, and so on. The Lord invites us to keep his promise in the central stage of our life. This requires that we first identify the promise of God. Next, we accept the promise of God. Then we act on the promise of God.
Raise your heads,
We might accept the promise of God and act on it, but we also need to ‘raise our heads” above all distractions, distortions, and disturbances. Raising our heads is the gesture that shows that we want to be saved and we want to remain saved. As Jeremiah says:
“In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
And this is the name by which it will be called:
“The Lord is our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 33:16)
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial” (CCC 1206). As people enrolled his divine service and mission, we are called to live in the promise of God so that we in turn can invite others into God’s promise of salvation. We are also invited to contribute to what will ensure the safety of the City of God, and the Church of God, beginning with our neighborhood community.
Some of the ways to raise our heads are suggested in the responsorial psalm:
Know the ways of the Lord
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation.
Good and upright is the Lord,
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes his covenant known to them.” (Psalm 25:4-14)
Other ways to raise our heads are specified in the Second reading:
Increase in love
“May the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we abound in love for you. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
Strengthen your heart
“And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness
that you may be blameless before our God” (1 Thes. 3:13)
Please God more
“you ought to live and to please God,
as, in fact, you are doing,
you should do so more and more” (1Thes. 4:1)
Know instructions of God
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
The word of the Lord. (1 Thes. 4:2)
Things that can also help us raise our heads
Know about your redemption
“Now when these things begin to take place,
stand up and raise your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 12:28)
Be on guard
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down
with dissipation and drunkenness
and the worries of this life” (Luke 21:34)
“Be alert at all times,
praying that you may have the strength
to escape all these things that will take place,
and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
Pope Francis declares this liturgical year a special year of Mercy till November 2016. He will inaugurate the Year of Mercy starting December 8, 2015. This is an opportunity to pick up one concrete way of keeping the promise of Christ as well as any personal promise we have made to the Lord. Throughout this First week of Advent, may you be inspired to one of the following commitments:
1. In which concrete way will you please God?
2. In which way will you be really alert to enhance good deeds?
3. In which one solid way will you make a special progress for the sake of Advent?