MOMENTS for 1st Sunday of Advent Year A (2016)
The story is told about three boys who were telling one another about their grandfathers. The first one said: “My grandfather was a soldier who died during the war.” The second one said: “My grandfather was a fireman who died saving a child from a fire.” The third one said: “My grandfather died peacefully in his sleep while everyone was screaming in the bus he was driving.”
Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the season for the great preparation for the birthday of our Savior. In today’s gospel (Mt. 24, 37-44), Jesus tells us to stay awake, “for you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” Let us ask ourselves today: If the Lord calls me now, would I be ready to meet Him?
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Many of us are so caught up in our worldly pleasures, concerns and agenda that we forget the shortness of our life, and the futility of our so-called achievements and plans. Selfishness and pride can blind us to the reality that we all will die someday, sooner that we think or know.
Death came so unexpectedly to Melvin Abrenica last Oct. 27. He was on his way to school to take his final exams when he met a vehicular accident. He said goodbye to his mother at 6 a.m. and at 6:15 a.m. he was gone. He was only 18. Lord, there are so many things we cannot explain or understand. Help us to believe and hold on!
Last week, I was at the funeral Mass for John Dexter Chua. He died of dengue, leaving behind his wife, Jackie, and their year-old child. He was at his prime at 37. Gone too soon…
And yet, there are people who live to 100, or 104. There are also people who live on, just occupying space, living “useless” lives, and there are good people who die young. Who are we to say who deserves to live and who deserves to die? Let God be God, let man be man.
Decency has become such a lonely word in our present day and time. It is a tough world we are living in, with so much bashing, bullying, cursing and mudslinging. There are people who make a living just doing all of the above. Let us not allow this to become a culture; let us not accept it as the “new normal” in our lives. Kindness, respect and caring still matter!
Advent is the time of hope, fresh starts, and new beginnings. Just when we thought the young people of today are merely caught up in gadgets and gimmicks, lo and behold, they are in the streets expressing their sentiments and beliefs on issues that affect them and the future of our nation. Goodness lives on. Goodness triumphs in the end.
There are reunions and Christmas parties going on these days. Let us not forget the reason for our merrymaking. “Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season.” Perhaps in our gatherings, it would be good to take up a collection for the poor and the needy. Let our gatherings not just be about us. Let us bring in Jesus, and the poor He loves.
Let us pray today for the grace to live meaningful, beautiful lives. May we live lives spent for a mission for something or Someone greater than ourselves. May we not live empty and meaningless lives filled with selfishness, pleasure and pride.
Let us also pray today for the grace for a happy death. “Lord, when the time comes for me to leave this world, please grant that I will be in a state of grace, and that I have been reconciled with You, with the world, and with myself. May I come before You not empty-handed, but with lots of love. And may You welcome me, the sinful one.”
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, when our time comes, may we hear You say to us, “Welcome!” Amen.