LUKE 21: 25-28. 34-36
HIS WORDâ€¦BE VIGILANT AT ALL TIMES AND PRAY THAT YOU HAVE THE STRENGTH TO ESCAPE THE TRIBULATIONS THAT ARE IMMINENT AND TO STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN.
my wordsâ€¦ Today is the â€œNew Yearâ€ of the Church Liturgical Calendar, the First Sunday of Advent, Cycle C in the Sunday Readings. The Season of Advent (time of waiting for someone to come) has a two-fold character of its celebration: the first, from November 29 to December 16, we meditate and reflect on the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time, which is â€œyetâ€ to happen in history; and the second, from December 17 to 24, we remember, meditate, and celebrate the First Coming of Jesus which had â€œalreadyâ€ happened in history more than two thousand years ago. The prayers and meditations of the second part of Advent are ushered by the celebration of the â€œMisa de Galloâ€ or â€œSimbang-Gabiâ€ in the Filipino culture which will traditionally and liturgically start on December 16. For these two reasons, Advent becomes a period of devout and expectant delight for the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives.
Brothers and Sisters, the gospel of today asked us to be â€˜VIGILANTâ€ at all times and â€œPRAYâ€ for the strength for the coming of the Son of Man (Lk 21:36). VIGILANCE here means living our life with Jesus meaningfully and concretely according to the Gospel Values. This theme is well echoed in the Philippine scouting slogan that says. â€œLAGING HANDAâ€ or â€œBe Always Ready or Preparedâ€ in life. Christian life therefore is a life of preparation, a life of being always ready for the coming of Jesus. And how shall wemake ready or prepare for it? Through PRAYER that disposes us to be spiritually alert in life in the context of the mysteries of salvation brought about by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Today begins the celebration of the â€œYear of the Holy Eucharist and the Familyâ€ in the context of the nine-year preparation for the 500th Anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines or dubbed as the â€œQuintecentenary of Philippine Christianityâ€ come 2021. The theme also occasioned the Philippines to host the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu City come January 24 to 31, 2016, with the theme: â€œChrist in You, Our Hope of Gloryâ€. The focus of the theme is the Eucharist as a mystery to be revealed, lived, and proclaimed, and as the source and goal of the Churchâ€™s mission.
Brothers and Sisters, we are the Church and let us allow Jesus Christ to dwell among us to reveal to the full His saving mystery of love for all of us. Let this Advent be a true season of really preparing for the coming of the Lord into our lives most specially and specifically in the Holy Eucharist that we receive everyday; and a season of celebrating more joyfully the birthday of our Lord that reminds us that true salvation begins in Jesus and ends in Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega of our life. And let Christmas be a daily celebration of Christian life in the Holy Eucharist. (By Rev. Fr. Julius C. Lupot)