First Sunday of Advent Year B - 27/11/2011 - Gospel: Mk 13:33-37
We all have experience at waiting, at a bus stop or at an airport or to be picked up. The longer we have to wait the more anxious we become because of the unknown factor and also it is quite boring. We are not alone in this kind of experience, observing around some waiting areas we see people react in various ways. It is a sign of boredom or tiredness of waiting. Some people look into an empty sky; others are anxious and stand up and sit down non-stop. Others try to flick through magazines; others keep looking at their watch. However, few are having good time chatting with friends or neighbours. Waiting with joy is what we need to have during the Advent.

Advent is a time of active waiting for the birth of Christ. It depends on how we utilize the time. For us, Christians, it is a time to prepare ourselves and be ready to welcome the baby Jesus into our lives. For the commercial people it is a time to work harder, to rush, to complete the work before the holiday. Workers have to work day and night and overtime to catch up with the time as it seems to fly away. The Church, on the contrary, advises us to slow down our daily activities. It is a time to relax and pay more attention to our inner lives, spending more time to reflect, to pray and to contemplate, as we may have neglected to do so during the year because of the busy lives that we live. It is now a time to enjoy the peacefulness that Christ brings to us. It is the time to join the heavenly voice from on high to praise God for coming to live with us. It is a time to look back and redirect our lives based on God's love and mercy.

On the opening prayer of the first Sunday of Advent that prays: Our heart desires the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.

Like a mother who is anxious waiting at the gate of a kindergarten to see her child after his/her first day of schooling, in the same way Jesus is waiting to catch sight of us. It is not just us who are waiting to welcome Jesus into our lives but God is also waiting for us to return to enjoy the warmth of God's love. The warmth of God's love manifests through baby Jesus. It is a love of a baby, innocent, pure and holy. This baby Jesus is there all the time, day and night, evening, midnight, cockcrow or dawn waiting to smile at us, waiting to look at us with welcoming eyes. There is no time limit for us to return to God.

It is not we who take the initiative but God makes the first move by sending God's only Son, Jesus, into the world to show us the way to return to God. Jesus entered the world not passively sitting there waiting for us, but he walks about to find the lost sheep. The picture of the shepherd who carried a lost sheep on his shoulder, bringing it home, is a clear sign saying God is not just waiting for us to return but actively looking for us.

We pray to experience God's saving actions presence in our lives and to recognize that God alone is the source of life and goodness who is waiting for us to return like a baby smile on his face.