Cycle (C) advent 1st sunday

Jer. 33:14-16; 1 Thess. 3:12-4:2; LK. 21:25-28, 34-36

Dear brothers and sisters, today we are entering into the season of Advent.  Advent is the time of preparation to celebrate Christmas and to receive Jesus into our lives.

In the First Reading from the Book of Jeremiah, the Lord God repeated the promises that He had made to Abraham and to His descendants. To Abraham and his offspring, God had promised to bless them, that they would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And they shall possess the gate of their enemies and by his offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves. Over and above this, God promised that a righteous Branch would spring up from the

descendants of king David who shall practice honesty and integrity in the land.

Honesty and integrity are the two most important requirements to be members in the Kingdom of God. The creation stories tell us that at the beginning of creation Man enjoyed the presence of God. This peaceful harmony prevailed till dishonesty entered into the Garden of Eden. When dishonesty entered the garden of Eden man lost his place there. He was expelled from Eden. When dishonesty entered into the heart of man, God lost his place in man’s heart. So to prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas – To receive Jesus into our lives the virtues of honesty and integrity should be reinstalled in our lives.

The second reading emphasizes it. “That you may be blameless in the sight of God and Father when Our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.” The Gospel reading too warns us to watch ourselves and not to coarsen our hearts.

In short all the reading tells us to embrace honesty and integrity to gain entry into the presence of God.

The media highlight many stories of honesty in daily life. Like the taxi driver returned the cash he found in the taxi, An unknown passenger returned the bag with ornaments and cash and so on. Many such examples are quoted from the lives of great men too.

Rohan Jain wrote, “I saw an incident that reinforced in me the belief that honesty is still present in this world.”

He was once roaming around the city, and a mother was walking ahead of me with her young daughter. The daughter was playfully walking when she collided with a parked bike. The bike fell and there was a slight damage to the bike.

The mother picked up the bike and then opened her purse. She took out a piece of paper and wrote her contact details on the paper, apologizing for the damage and asking the owner to contact her for reimbursement of the damage. She attached the slip to the bike and then left with her daughter.

He wrote, “To me, this was a great learning experience as I had not seen such an act of honesty before.”

 “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living and truth loving” as said by James E Faust.

A teacher was taking her class for a round. On the way the children noticed that many things were displayed. They saw a basket of apples. One of the boys was tempted to take one. He approached the fruit basket. A note was displayed next to it. “Take one only. God is watching you”. He grabbed one apple and proceeded. After a short distance he found a basket of toffee. He looked for the note. There was no note in the toffee basket. So he wrote a note. “You can take as many as you want. God is busy watching the apples.”

Honesty isn’t something that is bound by age or social status. No matter who we are, where we are, what we do, honesty and integrity go a long way. The result may not be immediate, but the universe doesn’t lose even a single good deed. It’s remembered and rewarded.

We teach our children to quote incidents from the lives of great men. But is there anything that we leave behind for them to remember and cherish in later years.

If your child comes and tells you, “Daddy I scored 100 out of 100 in Math. I did not know two answers but my friend helped me.” How many of us dare to tell him that he got 2 marks by dishonest means? Does anyone of us realize that? There are very many things in our life – at home, at work and in the society at large that we do not realize that they are dishonest practices. The virtue of honesty should sprout from the heart of individuals, then it will spread to the society from there it will disseminate into the nation and the world will imbibe it.  Once honesty rules our lives we can say that we are ready to welcome Jesus, we are ready to celebrate Christmas. Once honesty becomes the common rule of the society it will radiate peace in the world.

Honesty and integrity are the solutions for all the tensions in our life; all the disagreements in the family; all the disputes in the society and all the problems in the world – poverty, hunger, illiteracy, exploitation, communal disharmony and war between the nations.

Let the change begin from us honest men and women in this season of advent.