Stephen J. Baker, O.S.A.First Sunday of Advent (Year A)
Homily by Stephen J. Baker, O.S.A.

Is 2:1-5
Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Rom 13:11-14
Mt 24:37-44

Prepare!

All around us we see and hear exhortations to prepare, to get ready. All through the week prior to Thanksgiving Day, we were told by advertisers to prepare for the big sales that began at midnight on Friday. This is the time of year when we prepare our homes for Christmas with the placement of ornaments and trees and lights and lawn displays. This is the time of year when we prepare to exchange gifts with loved ones. It is a season of preparation.

The Church also asks us to spend some time in preparation – to pray and reflect upon the coming of the Lord. This Season of Advent, this season of waiting calls us to reflect on the great mystery of our God’s coming into our lives through Jesus. This coming of the Lord was proclaimed in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah. We hear in Isaiah that God is going to bring restoration to the world and to the people. It will be a new day and a new way of living. Isaiah calls us to walk, not in darkness but in the light of the Lord.

This same invitation to walk in the light of the Lord is given to us by Saint Paul in the second reading to the community in Rome. Paul tells his listeners and us that we are to throw off the deeds that belong to darkness and to put on the armor of light. Augustine certainly heard this call to conversion through this very reading from Paul and gave his life over to a new life in Christ. Augustine was now prepared to live for the coming of Christ into this life.

The gospel today calls us to this same time of preparation. We are preparing to stand at the ready for the coming of the Lord whenever that may be. Who knows how the Lord will come to us during this Advent and upcoming Christmas Season? Will we be ready to receive him?