November 29, 2020 – First Sunday of Advent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112920.cfm)
Once in a far-flung village, words came that someone from the diocese would come to visit them on a particular day. So, in excited anticipation for the said visit, the whole village decided to renovate their chapel and prepare a rather lavish banquet to welcome their special guest. However on the very day of the visit, no guest arrived, but instead a big writings message on their chapel wall is posted “BEWARE for HE is here. Babala. Nandito siya. Pagbantay, Ania sya.” Dismayed for the non-appearance of their expected guest, the villagers began to blame and distrust one another for the said fiasco and humiliation. Worse is the insulting words written on their chapel walls warning them to be aware of someone present with them but in fact, absent, no show, not there. Nandito daw pero wala naman. Naa daw, pero wala lagi. Weeks after the fiasco, they started to take seriously the message on the wall: BEWARE of the supposed-guest’s presence in their midst, and they began to consider that perhaps that the guest is already with them but they might have missed & fail to recognize him. So they become alert and aware first of the presence of newcomers and migrants in their midst (mga dili ingon nato, pero naa nato), then they become sensitive of each other’s presence & needs, & thus they grow in their concern & respect for one another within their community as they become conscious of someone with them, other than themselves. BEWARE. Babala. Pagbantay then becomes more than just a word of warning but a Wake-up Call for them to be aware, be awake, and be alert of the Presence of one another and of other than beyond themselves. Hindi lamang Babala, kundi Magmasid, magising at magkamalay. And thus, they become WELCOMING community.
We Christians believe that there are three comings of the Lord in our lives: His second coming at the end of time to reign & rule the world, His coming in the end of one’s life to fetch & bring us to our Father, & His coming as He & we live in our lives this day. Any one of these comings can take place at any moment in our life. And what is expected of us is to be welcoming hosts of Lord. Our salvation then is all about the Lord coming to us & we welcoming Him into our lives.
In our gospel today Jesus said: “Beware. Keep alert for you do not know when the time will come. Therefore keep watch for you did not know when the Lord is coming or else he may find you asleep when He comes suddenly. What I say to you, I say to all: Keep awake.” Jesus here is giving us a Wake-up Call to be aware, awake and be alert for coming of the Salvation and Good News that is happening and about to happen in our lives. God has something Better to offer us more in life now and from now on. And behind this promise of salvation in our lives, our Hospitality – welcoming and hosting the Lord as our guest is required. Salvation thus happens when God comes & we willingly welcome Him into our lives. So also, salvation is wasted because of unrecognized & unwelcomed Lord as our guest, & due to clueless insolent unwelcoming people we are as hosts.
To be a good worthy host to our guest, all we have to do and to be then is to be alert, awake and aware – magmasid, magising at magkamalay, so that God’s miracles and blessings are to be revealed & enjoyed in us always anew. Jesus does not want us to sleepwalk through our lives. He wants us to whole-heartedly welcome His comings into our lives by being alert, awake and aware – we hosting His work of God’s promise of salvation for all.
The first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year. Another year of the Lord and with the Lord is upon and ahead of us. Another promise and chance for us to grow in our faith and love of God through Jesus Christ. As we begin and live through our new liturgical year: to be alert, awake, aware: Magmasid, magising, at magkamalay are the very welcoming attitudes Jesus wants us to be and do for another chance to be and grow with Him in God’s grace.
Like people waiting at the arrival area in the airport, as we long for the vaccine for cure & immunization, as we celebrate this year our 500 years of Filipino Catholicism, may we brace ourselves to welcome Him for His another coming anew into our lives – conscious, alert, sensitive, & aware not to miss His presence in our midst & thus, be forever blessed by the grace of His love & mercy. Amen.