Gospel Luke 21:25-38, 34-36 (Sacrament of Confirmation)
Today we begin the Season of Advent. Advent is the time during which we hope to welcome the Messiah. The prophets used compelling, forceful and powerful images to underscore what our attitudes should be during this period. And so we heard from the Readings.
When we live here in Johannesburg, we don’t have this sense, but if you go to the Free State, the Drakensberg Mountains or the Western Cape, for example, even Magaliesberg where there are mountains and Natal where there are valleys, then we begin to appreciate the background of the author. When he says, flatten the mountains, so that when the Messiah comes He will not have a problem crossing the country or the world. Fill up the valleys so the He doesn’t have a problem going up and down. Or you could say in our time, make highways around the mountains and fill up the potholes, so that there should be no hindrance or any obstacle that slows His coming.
He shouts and says, Jerusalem take off your clothing of mourning, no need to be weeping at this time, the Messiah is coming. Stand on heights, Jerusalem, look to the east, where your sons left barefoot as prisoners or slaves accompanied by their enemies, are coming back carried like royalty because the Prince of Peace is coming back with them.
So the prophets paint these forceful images so that we might appreciate the power of He who is coming to redeem the world. He says, all of you that feel guilty no longer have any reason to feel guilty because your sentence has been repealed. Those of you who are thirsty, draw water from the wells of salvation for the Lord is near. St. Paul says to the Corinthians, be happy, let your tolerance be evidence to everyone, pray for God’s peace, His peace is so much greater than we can understand.
The message, dear Candidates, is that there is somebody greater than ourselves who is coming, the Redeemer is coming, therefore let us remain prepared and welcome Him.
These Readings, we hear them every year, it is better to read the entire series until Christmas, so as to experience the power of the Word that describes what our attitudes ought to be in welcoming Christ. Today, as you receive the seal of the Holy Spirit, you will not see with your eyes, but hopefully the external act on your forehead will translate as the act of the Holy Spirit that leaves its stamp on your hearts and souls. So that you in turn may be always welcoming to Christ, not only at this time of Christmas, but throughout your lives to be guided by Him and His Spirit.
I have a favour to ask from the Sponsors. I would like you to procure the Sunday Missal for the Candidates so that they can read while they are in the Spirit of Advent and Confirmation, the forceful Readings about expectation.