The first day of Advent
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - November 28, 2015 - 9:00am

Today is the First Sunday of Advent and in the Catholic Church Advent comes from the Latin word, “Adventus” which means ‘Coming” because there are four days of Advent until the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. We Catholics are asked to prepare for the ‘Coming’ of Christ by going to confession or the sacrament of reconciliation so that when we go to Holy Communion we are free from the infirmities of sin.

The First day of Advent also marks the beginning of the new Liturgical Year. A year in the Catholic Church, we do not start the year on January 1st, but rather the counting of the year starts at the First Day of Advent. We have a three-year cycle with our Liturgy and we are now on cycle “C”. Today’s gospel reading comes from Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36.

“25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

34 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. 36 Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

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Our gospel reading today is quite frightening as it talks about eschatological times or the doctrine of the end of times. Just imagine what our Lord is telling us, “People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” If you read the front pages of our newspapers today or watch CNN or BBC satellite television you will note that the world is on the brink of the Biblical Armageddon.

After the terror attacks in Paris, wherein ISIS killed 129 innocent people, Pope Francis came out on Vatican Radio to denounce these barbaric acts of terrorism saying “I’m close to the people of France, to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them. I am moved, and I am saddened. I do not understand. War is madness. Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction. There is no religious or human justification for this inhumane acts.”

I already wrote in a column that Russia now has “boots on the ground” in Syria, helping to prop up the Assad Regime. But France is now bombing ISIS in Syria while the United States have not ceased using their drones to attack the ISIS in Syrian territory, but they are against the Assad Regime. This is a highly-explosive mix of soldiers and war machines that could easily escalate to a major conflict. With Turkey shooting down a Russian SU24 fighter bomber, the world gets closer to the brink of war.

At this point we can’t do anything by ourselves as we watch the world powers prepare their armies for that “Piecemeal war” that Pope Francis pointed out. But we can only pray for world peace. We can ask the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to ask Pope Francis to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as she requested the three children in Fatima, Portugal in Oct.13,1917 a request that none of the Popes have complied fully.

As we read in the Secrets of Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary said, “If my request will be heeded, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be world peace.” Alas today, even the Catholic Church failed to heed the call of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is why the world is not at peace today.

But our Lord Jesus Christ has issued a warning to all of us which we can read in today’s gospel reading, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” This saying is very clear that no one will be spared even if you live in the remotest islands of this earth or in the deep jungles of Africa or Brazil. When the Son of Man comes all will be shaken!

So let’s accept the message of Advent to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Son of Man because as the Lord clearly said in today’s gospel,

“But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Go to confession and do not worry.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

ACIRC ASSAD REGIME BIBLICAL ARMAGEDDON BLESSED VIRGIN MARY BUT FRANCE CATHOLIC CHURCH LORD JESUS CHRIST POPE FRANCIS SON OF MAN TODAY WORLD
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