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First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018
By Augustine Agwulonu
Thu, 29 Nov 2018

(Luke 21:25-28,34-36; Jer 33:14-16; 1 Thess 3,12-4:2)
 The first part of today’s Gospel reading appears paralyzing! An announcement of an inevitable cosmic disaster scares us stiff! The events that will herald the coming of the Son of man do not seem to accord us the luxury of a positive thinking! Even the sense of being upright might not totally erase every apprehension when the elements of the universe begin to melt away! 

Now, in the second part of our Gospel text, Luke announces the coming of the Son of man in the midst of turbulent and violent events. As it were, in the cloud of chaos and disorder in the universe, there is the silver lining of the glorious descent of Jesus Christ from the heavens! Consequently, Luke tasks his audience: “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” 
But why should the coming of the Son of man be preceded by frightening events? The answer to this question can be drawn from an observation of what happens at transition periods - things are often very turbulent and the people and the environment that undergo changes mostly experience fearful phenomena from within and from without. The process of spiritual awakening and transformative consciousness can be terrifying. But usually after the storm of the transition period, there is peace and life continues with even much more smoother sail on the swirling ocean of existence!
Consequently, on the third part of this sunday’s Gospel, the third Evangelist sounds a note of warning saying: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of life.” When tensions mount in life people tend to do things in the attempt to remain calm and be at ease. Some might try to distract themselves by heavy drinking, excessive sleeping or with some other hedonistic behaviors. However, the best solution to spiritual, moral, political, social and personal tensions, especially during the periods of transition, is faith, courage, patience, resilience and prayerful vigilance. This is the Advent call and message! As it is, no serious person goes playing chess, getting drunk, sleeping away or beating up family members while his home is on fire. 
The first reading says, “the Lord is our justice.” Thus, if we wish to escape being consumed by the turbulence of transitional periods like now, then we must fix our gaze on him, the Son of man, who constantly comes in the sky! His presence is the power that sustains us in being with his breath of life, growth and spiritual awakening. God will ensure that justice is done to them that remain constant in acts of charity, especially during this period of Advent. His mercy will set them free from corruption and destruction. 
Finally, let me unite my voice with that of St. Paul in the second reading to pray for us all: 
“Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you, 
so as to strengthen your hearts, 
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father 
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.”


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