I SUNDAY OF ADVENT
jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 thessalonians 3:12–4:2; luke 21:25-28, 34-36
when mike got cancer, his oncologist gave him a 50/50 chance of recovery after surgery and chemotherapy. his counsellor gave him an 80/20 chance. for him, the person who could accept the reality and have hope had a better chance of recovery. he believed that mike had a very good chance because after listening to his doctor about surgery and further therapy, he had set up a game of golf on the first reasonable date. he was looking to the future realistically, and with hope.
look at the future realistically and with hope! this is the message of the readings today.
jeremiah is preaching at a time of national and personal distress: jerusalem is under siege and he is in prison. he recognizes that the destruction of jerusalem and the exile are imminent. but there will be an advent of life. jeremiah foresees that a «shoot» will bud from the old stalk of david. this «shoot» will be someone who will bring about peace with justice. there will be a total recovery of national and religious stability. the present is bleak; jeremiah looks at it squarely and looks to the future with hope.
JESUS predicts the total collapse of jerusalem, which has been the symbol of GOD’s eternal fidelity. but he encourages his disciples to stand firm, because he is the «shoot of david» who will re-establish order and recovery of identity. JESUS paints a grim view of the future not to paralyse his listeners with fear but to call them to faith, prayer, and hopeful waiting; he invites them to be attentive to their disorders.
st paul urges the thessalonians to grow in love for another and to grow in holiness during this period of waiting.
how will i spend this season of advent:
will i lament the present or will i look at it realistically and at the future with hope? what are the disorders and dissipation i need to remove from my life? how will i grow in love and holiness?
may this advent be a time of preparation for the coming of JESUS… a time of hope-filled and realistic waiting-action.