Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 02, 2012
First Sunday of Advent – Year of Faith
by Rev. Fr. Lito Ignacio
12:15 PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)

Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot ; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: "The LORD our justice."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Reading 2 1 Thes 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God and as you are conducting yourselves you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Gospel Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples: "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."


This First Sunday of Advent reminds us of our Lord, that He is to come. The word Advent is derived from the Latin word "Adventus", which means 'coming'. It is in Advent that we prepare for the coming of Jesus. It is in Advent when we recall the coming of Christ, when He was born in Bethlehem. 

The Advent Season has four weeks. The first two weeks of Advent invites us to direct our minds to Christ and prepare for His Second Coming, the Final Coming of Jesus Christ, at the end of the world, at the end of time. The third and fourth week tells us to prepare for Christmas, when the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is recalled. Yes - Jesus came in history, Jesus comes in mystery, and Jesus will come again in glory. Jesus came with love in Bethlehem. He comes with grace into our souls, and again, He will come with justice at the end of the world.

The Gospel for today speaks of the coming of Christ as Judge of all. And before He comes, the Gospel tells us that we will experience earthquakes, calamities, and so on. It describes how we should prepare ourselves for the great event on which depends our eternal destiny. It also tells us that if these terrifying things happen, we should raise up our heads, as our redemption is drawing near. The Gospel says that all things in this world will pass away - glory, fame, honor, possessions, position, prestige, power, wealth, riches, beauty. But only one thing will remain, and that is the love and mercy of God. God will never pass away; His Word will never pass away. Eternal life is a life awaiting us.

I was in Lourdes in September 15, and I came for the second time this October. And Cardinal Rosales was there for almost two months. He was giving confessions and did not want to be acknowledged as a cardinal. He wanted to be incognito and be a simple priest, just to sit at the confessional box. The Cardinal was moved and he said that he could see the tears in Lourdes, as the people cried during confession. All of them received the love and mercy of God. And in front of the Lamb of God, you cannot but cry, seeing the grace of God, seeing the goodness of God, thanking God for his everlasting mercy and love for us, leading us to conversion.

This is also what the Lord is inviting us in this first Sunday of Advent. He will come to judge us, but He is also showing us what it means to celebrate and prepare for His Second Coming. It is a joyful encounter with the Lord. This is what the Synod of Bishops (from October 7 to 26) is telling us. It all begins with a personal encounter with the Lord, our personal experience with God, to love Jesus, to follow Jesus, and to share our faith in Jesus. This is also what the Year Faith is telling us - to revive our faith in the Lord, and to renew our personal relationship with Jesus. Let us listen and allow the Words of Jesus to teach us and to transform us and our society in which we live.

I was telling you about Lourdes. On October 18, Cardinal Rosales left Lourdes. And on October 20, do you know what happened to Lourdes? There was a strong deluge. Lourdes became heavily flooded, and it was a great natural disaster. There was a super typhoon. October 20 it was Lourdes, and days later, that super typhoon hit New York, New Jersey and other parts of the United States. 

This is what the Gospel tells us. The earth will be in dismay, perplexed. God will allow the phenomenon of natural disasters to happen even in Lourdes, which is considered the spiritual capital of prayer. It can happen elsewhere. 

This is also what the Gospel reminds us. Let us be vigilant at all times through prayer. Our lives are in God's hands, and in God's mercy. The Gospel tells us that we should pray that we may have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man. We must fix our eyes above, and not in this world. Our lives here on earth is a preparation for an extraordinary world that is yet to come, a supernatural destiny.

Yes, there is such a thing as judgment, death, heaven and hell, and purgatory. Do you believe that there is eternal life? Yes. We will all die and be judged. There will be reward for the good, and punishment for the evil. There is such thing as heaven, for those who are worthy to be in heaven. There is such a thing as purgatory, for those who could not yet enter heaven. It is a place for cleansing. And there is such thing as hell, for people who have really turned away from God.

We must see beyond this world and consider a world without end. This we will understand in the mystery and truth of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Christ is the Living One, who is, who was, and who is to come. It is only through our encounter with Christ that we can understand the mystery of our life here on earth. 

Our life here on earth is like the Rosary. We have the joyful and luminous mysteries, diba? We also have our sorrowful mysteries, our suffering and death, and we have the glorious mysteries of our earthly life. And during this Advent Season, we are preparing for the coming of Christ, the coming of our Messiah. The Advent season reminds us that Jesus is the fulfillment of everything. Jesus is our Lord and King. Let us adore the Lord, the King who is to come. Jesus Christ is the fullness of God's revelation. 

Ito po ang hilingin natin this Advent Season. Hilingin po natin na lumago ang ating pakikipag-unayan kay Hesukristo. Lumago ang ating karanasan ng pag-ibig at awa ng Diyos sa ating buhay. It is only in our encounter with Jesus that we can understand the mystery of our life. Let us await and adore the Lord, the King who is to come. Amen.

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