Lukisan Henry John Yeend King, Feeding the Geese
First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
I Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 33-37
In Italy, Tivoli there is a beautiful garden called Villa d’Este. This 16th-century villa is home to incredible flowers and also has 51 fountains. They complete each other to design the garden Villa d’Este. In the night under the shining moon, we can feel the silence of the beauty of it. The flowers blossoming with their colors decorate the silence of the night of Tivoli. In the morning, they just bloom enjoying the shining sun. They blossom patiently to its time and as if the beauty of the garden is waiting for them in hope and in silence either in the evening, or at midnight or at cockcrow or in the morning, or at noon.
Advent is the time of preparation for the coming of the lord: Jesus Christ. The Lord –Jesus Christ- is like a man traveling aboard and we are the disciples who are like the servants who are waiting for the coming of Him. The time of the coming of Him is unknown. What is expected from the servants is that they are ready to welcome Him when He will come and His house is safe. That is why He says: be watchful, be alert because you do not know when the time will come.
We -as the servant- are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. Each of us has our own responsibility, our work, our commitment which is different from each other. However, they are the tasks for each servant that has been trusted by the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to enliven our tasks because all of them are grace like the Lord’s house that given to his servants to guard. We have to love our tasks and do the best for them because they reflect our identity and our faith. In waiting for Him we have to loyal to our commitment, to our responsibility, for example: as a teacher, as a mother, as a father, as an employer or any kind the charges that we take on. All of them bring us to the state of watchful and state of alert for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ under the frame of faith and prayer. Our readiness to welcome Him is His joy and it means our happiness and our salvation.
Advent is the time of waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ. In daily activities, we are waiting for Him. In the moment of life passing on: joy, sadness, failure, successes, we are expecting Him to come. In waiting for Him, we have hope and longing to meet with Him because –according to Isaiah- we are the tribes of God’s heritage. That is why, in the deepest of our heart we appeal to God silently: Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. For sure, in the midst of our longing, God is ever with us.
There is joy in waiting for Him because we see the good works of God in the passing time as long as we frame our daily activities with faith; we feel the God the loving Father in the moment of life through reflection under prayer. By faith and prayer, we are waiting for Him in hope, in the silence of love, in His grace and in His promise. We fulfill the time with being alert and being watchful.
Waiting for Him have the other fruit -as said Saint Paul-: we are enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge. We are rich in any spiritual gift in waiting for the revelation of Christ. Therefore in waiting for Him, Christ himself will keep His servants firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of Him as long as we are firm on His word. In Christ we are watchful; we are alert because the Christ Himself will guide us in his way. In Christ, we trust and surrender to His love. So the hope of the servants: Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in your ways become fact because of Jesus Christ. Then, we are not afraid again for the coming of Him that can happen at any time. He will come whether in the evening or at midnight or at cockcrow or in the morning. It means He will come suddenly, unexpectedly. The time is His time which reveals the meaning of time: the time is a time of grace, time of salvation, time of love as long as we are watchful and alert also prepare ourselves to welcome Him. Time is the time of His revelation which carves His Glory. Our waiting will find its end that is when we will watch the day of His coming; when He comes again in glory and majesty.
In order for our waiting for Christ has purity and genuine we need to repent; we need to be reconciled with Christ. Why? The sins have spotted the holiness of our image as God’s children. Our sin makes us wander from the ways of the Lord; the sin has hardened our hearts so that we are not fear God. Our sin causes us blind to see His awesome deeds. The consequence we are like unclean people, all of our good work is like a polluted rag; we have all withered like leaves and the guilt carries us away like the wind. God hides his face from us. The garden has lost its beauty. We lament and appeal: Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
But by advent, through repentance, we renew the life in Christ the Savior. By His forgiveness, we recognize again our identity that God is our father, and we are His son and His daughter. God is the potter and we are the clay, we are all the work of his hand. Advent is the time for recovery our condition through His grace so that we really become His watchful servants. Advent is time to sanctify life by faith, hope, and love in Christ. That is the beauty of advent; that is the mystery of Advent. Now in the heart of advent we pray to Jesus Christ as in lyrics of the song –Waiting in Silence Waiting in Hope-written by Carey Landry:
We are your people, we long for you, Lord. God ever with us, Emmanuel, Come, Lord Jesus, Maranatha!
We are your people, we trust in your love. O Sun of Justice, true Prince of Peace, Come with your justice, Lord,Maranatha!
We are your people, Lord, we seek your truth. Wisdom Incarnate, teach us your way; Show us the path of life, Maranatha.
We are your people, we long for a new life. O Key of David, open our hearts. Give us a new vision, Lord, Maranatha!
We are your people, our hearts thirst for you. Flower of Jesse, bloom in our midst. Make us your garden, Lord, Maranatha!