The Bishops Homily – 1st Sunday of Advent 2018

CENTRAL THEME: Advent is a time of waiting, of allowing Christ to be reborn in our lives, of purifying our hearts by repentance and of renewed experience of several comings of Christ in our lives through the sacraments, through the worshipping community, at the moment of our death and finally at his second coming.

STARTING ANECDOTE: The night between 14 – 15 April 1920, Titanic, the world’s largest ship weighing 46,328 Tons and considered unsinkable, struck an iceberg and sank in two and a half (21/2) hours killing 1,513 people. Hours before it sank, warning after warning had been sent to the crew that they were speeding into an ice field but the messages were ignored.


1st Reading (Jer. 33: 14-16): The Prophet Jeremiah waited in hope for an ideal descendant of King David who will bring security, peace, and justice to God’s People.

Christians believe that Jeremiah’s hope was fulfilled in Jesus. Jeremiah thus assures us the Lord of Justice will fulfill his promises and hence we need not be afraid in spite of frightening events and moral degradation all around.

2nd Reading (I Thes. 3: 12 – 4:2): Paul gives instructions how Christians should conduct themselves as they wait for “the coming of the Lord.” We are advised “to strengthen our hearts in holiness” (3:13) and “abound in love for one another.” (3:12)

3rd Gospel (Luke 21: 25-28; 34-36): Writing his Gospel around 80 AD after the Fall of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple in the year 70 AD but the world did not end anyway contrary to Mark’s assertion in his Gospel written around 69 AD, Luke advised his readers how they were to wait and prepare for Christ’s Second Coming. They had to shift their attention from future fulfillment to present service and commitment by watchfulness and prayerfulness.

That is why after reminding his community about the signs which would precede Jesus’ Second Coming, Luke gives them Jesus warning: “Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect to stand secure before the Son of Man.” (36)

While Advent is set to commemorate Jesus’ coming in the flesh as well as his final coming in glory, it is also a time to open ourselves to the Lord’s coming into our lives and our world today. In order to do this, we must read the signs of the times and adjust our lives accordingly.

LIFE’S MESSAGE: We need to prepare ourselves for Christ’s Second Coming by allowing him to be reborn daily in our lives.

Adapted from a Homily of Fr. Anthony Kadavil
By Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, JCL
Bishop of Novaliches