November 29, 2020 – 1st Sunday of Advent

“Being enthusiastic and responsible while (our heavenly) Home calls!”

(Based on Isa 63:16-17,64:1, 3-8, 1 Cor 1:3-9 and Mk 13:33-37 – 1st Sunday of Advent, Year B)

Legends are common and are essential to culture.

A legend usually includes an element of truth, involves heroic characters or based on historical facts, but with ‘mythical qualities.’

One such famous legend is that of King Nero. In AD 64, a great fire consumed the city of Rome.

For six days and seven nights, the Romans watched helplessly as their city burned.

This historical fact is accompanied by a legend that says while the city of Rome was burning…
… its Emperor Nero was very casually busy, playing the fiddle!

It’s from this legend that we get the English phrase “To play the fiddle while Rome burns.”

It means to “do nothing or something trivial while knowing that something disastrous is
happening.”

The Gospel of the Day is a strong warning to examine whether we too, as in the legend of Nero, are engaging ourselves “in playing the fiddle, while Rome burns.”

We are on the first day of the Season of Advent. In the Church, there are six different liturgical
seasons.

  1. The Season of Advent is a time to become aware of God’s deep faithfulness and preparing our
    hearts to receive Him more deeply into our lives.
  2. The Season of Christmas invites us to experience, thank and cherish the intervention of God in our lives and to grow deeper in the understanding of the ‘Emmanuel God’ – the God Who is with us!
  3. The Season of Lent invites us to focus on the reality of sin and make repentance.
  4. The Season of Holy Triduum invites to focus and experience the passion, death and Resurrection of our Blessed Lord.
  5. The Season of Easter invites us to focus on the mighty power of God through His Resurrection and the New life that He promises.
  6. The Season of the Ordinary Times invites us to focus on the daily life and teachings of Jesus and draw practical conclusions for our life.

Advent is a time to wake up from the slumber of sin to a life of grace and blessing.

Advent is a time to shake off the dust of sluggishness and become more fervent.

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”…
… which is a translation of the Greek word parousia

The central theme of the reading of the Day is Jesus’ warning to each one of us to be alert, watchful and prepared because Christ’s Second Coming can occur at any time. We are invited to examine ourselves in asking…

Am I casually wasting away my life, without giving enough attention to my spiritual life?
Am I spending my time enjoying in vain, without paying attention to the higher things of
life?
Am I dozing off in lethargy and laziness and failing to carry out my Christian responsibilities?

The Gospel gives a call to be awake and alert in life with an illustration of a master entrusting great responsibility to his servants (Cf. Mk 13:34-36)

Wandering land-owners and wayfaring masters were a common thing in the time of Jesus.

Large land-property owners often lived elsewhere, leaving their servants in charge of caring for and carrying on the business, as if the owners were still present.

This kind of a situation was a test for the servants who were made in-charge.

The absence of the master was a test of the faithfulness of the servant.

The real test of the honesty of students happens when the teacher is absent in the exam hall.

The real test of the conduct of children happens when the parents are away from the house.
The real test of the character of employees happens when the boss is not observing or monitoring them.

The real test of the faithfulness and commitment of the servant happens when the master or the land-owner is away, and is not in a position to keep an eye on them…

Would they be faithful daily, or would they wait until they heard the master was about to return and then quickly get things in order?
Would they engage in malpractices and fraudulent activities or would they conduct themselves in truthfulness and sincerity?

The time of the return of the Master was unknown.

The moment of the coming back of the owner was unspecified.

And this called for alertness and watchfulness at all times. Our whole life too, ought to be drenched in preparation and vigilance.

Often, we tend to allow laxity and sloppiness to dominate our lives. We tend to become people “who play the fiddle, while Rome burns…”

Though we sense the fire of sins and transgressions burning in our lives, we play the fiddle of making many excuses and postpone the need to repent.

Though we sense the fire of indifference and unconcern burning in our relationships, we play the fiddle of not taking the lead to improve our contacts and slip into more hatred.
Though we sense the fire of abuses and corruption burning in our society, we play the fiddle of passing the responsibility onto others and promote those evils by our apathy and lack of concern.

This Season of Advent is a wonderful time to renew our commitment and consecration to the Lord.

St Paul invites us to understand the remarkable faithfulness and the call of the Lord to each one of us: “He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord!” (1 Cor 1:8-9)

Yes, the Lord wishes to come into our hearts…

God will fulfil His promise of coming into us when we do our part of being watchful and prepared…
Prophet Isaiah reminds the assurance of the Lord: “You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways…” (Is 64:5)

As St. Thomas Aquinas: “Without God, I can’t. Without me, He won’t.” Let us become…
… more watchful, more prayerful.

Let us stop “playing the fiddle while Rome burns.”

Instead let us “be enthusiastic and responsible while (our heavenly) Home calls!”

Wish you a Blessed Season of Advent!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The Gospels constantly remind us of the Last Judgment…

… in order to instil in us reverential fear which is the beginning of wisdom!”

One thought on “November 29, 2020 – 1st Sunday of Advent

  1. Dear Rev.Fr, Wonderful indeed are your ruminations;Advent season reminds us of the necessity of being prepared;All through the last month Jesus was constantly reminding of the need of being vigilant; However many of us including me squander our time in the waywadeness of a fast and furious life;And many are taken unawares and are lost in the human way of thinking;But God alone the just judge Who can decide.Your journey of thinking from the school days to one’s day to day realities of life is worth mentioning.God bless you,Fr. abundantly.

    Like

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