November 28, 2021


Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour [of the Final Day].”
Luke 21:25-36

Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021

By: The Rev. Victoria S. Esguerra
Retired Priest, Diocese of Greater Manila Area

(Reprinted with permission from “O, Come Emmanuel: Advent and Christmas Prayers and Reflections,” booklet published by the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and issued at the National Clergy Convocation, Davao City, November 19, 2018.)

JEREMIAH 33: 14-16 – PRAYER OF JOY: The Lord Comes from David’s Tree

Jeremiah, son of a hereditary priest of Anathoth, was a young reluctant prophet when in 627 BC he was called to prophesy to his people for genuine repentance in order to escape judgment.  His message was that God would restore the house of Israel and the house of Judah and their fortunes would be restored.  [Judah was caught in the middle of political powers:  Assyria, Babylon and Egypt.]  From the shepherd’s flock of David (David’s tree), a branch would rise “to execute justice and righteousness,” and God would have mercy on them.  God told Jeremiah that his prophesy was to be accompanied by a prayer of mirth and thanksgiving: “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”


This is a prayer of preparation and deliverance coming from a troubled heart:  protection from the enemies; lesson to learn the truth; forgiveness for the sins of youth; lessons of love and faithfulness. [The entire psalm is a prayer of a contrite heart.]


Paul thanked the Thessalonians for their strong faith and labor of love (as reported by Timothy) which made their ministry to them successful despite the persecutions they had gone through.  His prayer: “Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.  May He so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (Thess. 11-13)


Jesus gave to His disciples the warning signs of the end of times – cosmic signs in the sky:  the sun, moon, and stars will fade; the planets will go out of alignment.  From comfort, there will be fear and suffering:  wars between nations; climate change causing geographical and natural calamities (storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, etc.).  From light, there will be darkness:  massacres, family conflicts, violations against humans and all forms of creation.  Just like nature giving signs through the seasons (fig trees speaking) – blooming, falling leaves, uprooting, etc. – so too the people are warned of the ending times.  When all these things happen, these are signs that the Kingdom of God is near.  

The Lord warned that these would happen to all without exceptions.  But the faithful must be vigilant (watchful/alert) and not be occupied with worries, rather be prayerful at all times so that when the Final Day comes, the faithful will not be afraid to face the Son of Man (Jesus the Judge).  In the End, everything will be restored to order (New Paradise) according to God’s plan in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21 and 22).  On the Lord’s Day, there shall be a continuous light – neither day nor night; the living waters shall flow out in the summer and winter; the holy people of God will be redeemed.  “Watch, therefore, for you neither know the day nor the hour [of the Final Day].” 

So how does one prepare for the Day of the Lord? Two ways:  Prepare for the Day of Incarnation (Jesus’s birthday) and Day of the Son of Man (Final Day of Judgment): (1) Sincere prayerful life asking for forgiveness (and forgiving others, as well) – Prayer of Deliverance (Psalm 25), and (2) Obedience to Jesus’s advice: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  The Lord reminds us: “What you do to the least of your brethren, you did it unto Me.”  Matthew 25: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, visit the prisoner, comfort the bereaved, bury the dead.  

When we buy Christmas presents for our loved ones, can we remember to buy some for the poor, as well?  When we serve our sumptuous Noche Buena, do we include those “kasambahay” and those without family at our dinner table?  When we decorate our homes with lots of colorful lights for people to admire, do we also greet and bring cheers of joy to those who are oftentimes ignored, e.g., the security guards, the janitors, the garbage collectors, the street beggars, the social outcasts (“taong-grasa”)? At the end of these noisy merry-making and celebrations, can we truly say that, “I hope the Lord is happy with me?” Better still, on the Final Day, can we joyfully anticipate His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, come and enter into my Kingdom.



Pin It