Wait in Patient Hope for God to fulfill his plans at the Second Coming of Jesus

Homily for the First Sunday of Advent Year B

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We mark the passing of time by celebrating special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Some days are more special for us than other days. Wedding days are special days and wedding anniversaries are special days. In one sense those special days are the same as every other day because the sun rises and sets in the same way and everybody else goes about their business in the normal way, but for the happy couple such a day is a special day, a day to be celebrated, a day for which to be thankful and grateful.

Today is a special day, and not just a day, but the beginning of a special season, Advent. During Advent we focus on waiting, waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus, and during the week before Christmas our waiting changes to waiting for our celebration of the birth of Jesus. Anytime we wait we do so because we expect something to happen; we wait for a bus or train because we expect it to arrive. When we are wait for a bus or train we cannot see it coming but hope it will come. During Advent we are waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus because the Second Coming of Jesus will bring all God’s plans for the world to completion. As we wait in hope for the Second Coming of Jesus we know he is with us in so many ways especially in the sacraments. So during Advent we are conscious of the fact that God is present with us while we wait for the fulfillment of God’s plans.

The words of Jesus in the Gospel today express the mood of this early part of the Advent season,

“Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33)

In the first reading today the Jews expressed hope in God even when going through a difficult time and so we heard glimpses of hope in that reading,

“Return, for the sake of your servants….
Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down
- at your presence the mountains would melt.” (Isa 63:17; 64:2 JB)

In the second reading Paul reminds his listeners of the many gifts they have received from God which will support them until the Second Coming of Jesus,

“you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” (1 Cor 1:7)

For those who are finding these times difficult for one reason or another the message of Advent is “Wait for God in patient hope.” God has not abandoned us, God is with us though sometimes our lack of faith prevents us from seeing him. Remember Jesus in the womb of Mary for nine months; Mary could not see Jesus but she knew that the Word had been made flesh and she was waiting in hope for his birth. Wait in patient hope for God to fulfill his plans in his own way in his own time. Remember the Jews in our first reading waiting in patient hope for God,

“Return, for the sake of your servants….
Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down
- at your presence the mountains would melt.” (Isa 63:17; 64:2 JB)

Remember Jesus in our Gospel advising never to give up waiting,

“Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33)

Remember Paul,

“you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” (1 Cor 1:7)

If you find these times difficult remember the message of Advent, “Wait for God in patient hope.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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