1st Sunday of Advent
1 Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:2
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints. Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Once again, the Church enters a new liturgical year (called, Year C) – the Year of St. Luke’s Gospel.
Luke is a strange figure among the four Evangelists – he is the only one who is suspected of being a Gentile (i.e coming from a non-Jewish background), though some think he may have been a ‘God-fearer’ – someone who believed in the strength and power of the Lord, but was not properly Jewish. He was, in any view, one of the first people ‘brought into’ the Church – excluded from the Old Covenant of Isreal, but invited into the Covenant of Christ.
And it is this broad invitation – this extension beyond Isreal and Judah – that invites us into the Love of God too, as well as those in Thessalonica to whom St. Paul is writing in today’s 2nd Reading. People who were not included in the covenant by birth-right, but by choice and every-day decision making – trusting that Christ and God is there for us. It is this that, as we begin the preparation season of Advent, we can reflect upon. It is this virtue of ‘Hope’ that the Church invites us to consider on this Advent Sunday.
Christian Hope is not earthly ‘hope’. It isn’t a “I hope this happens”, like a longing or a desiring – it is, instead a trusting. A trust in that what God has promised, to His people Isreal as through the Father; through his prophets and priests; through Christ to the world; and through the Holy Spirit to us on a day-to-day basis. And it is this same Christian Hope that we hold today, as the early Christians in Thessalonica held. That what God has promised, He will deliver.
And why wouldn’t He – because He already has. 2000 years ago, God fulfilled his century-long promise to Isreal, to deliver them a Messiah and reunite them to himself. And now that we have had the first Advent (which Culminates in the First Coming of Christ and Christmas), we as Christians await in this Second Advent, for His second coming, as has been promised to us.
We await in this sure and certain hope.