Today is the 2nd sunday of the Advent and readings of the day (Latin Rite) invites us for a home-coming, which is an invitation to come back to the Lord. A love of God without the love of neighbour is a farce. So I would like to reflect on what it means by home in the modern secular context, and what is coming back?
A house is defined as a building or structure, whose main purpose is to be occupied for habitation by humans. On the other hand, a home is the place of residence or refuge. A person’s most personal belongings are kept in a home and it is where a person feels safe and accepted(from internet). So home is something really special. What could be our homes today?
One inspiration from the letter of Pope Francis (Laudato Si) is the aspect of cosmic home. There was an essential harmony in the cosmos; our developmental initiatives (with so many of its benefits) have also created a rupture in the harmony. So homecoming means bringing a reconciliation in our relationship with the creation and other humans (it is invariably connected with a right relationship with God for a believer). It is an invitation for reconciliation and harmony. Harmony is not uniformity, but a beautiful order respecting the differences. Differences notes harmoniously combined produce music. Homecoming is an invitation to discover that rhythm of our cosmic home. For a believer, it is also the discovery of the grandeur of God present in the creation.
Another understanding of home could be that our humanity (entire group of human beings) is our home. (today is the world human right’s day). This is extremely significant today when there is violence in the name of religion, nationality, caste, tribes and various other affiliations. Most religious and humanistic traditions speaks of inter-connectedness of all human beings. Christianity would speak of all as children of God. Let this home-coming helps all human beings to experience their dignity. Homecoming is an invitation to make our own contributions towards the harmonious relationships between human-beings.
Home is a place where we are relaxed. We are at peace. Homecoming is an invitation to peace. According to Raimon Panikkar, peace is a gift to be received. (we can’t create it). Cultural disarmament in one of his nine sutras related to Peace. By cultural disarmament we defuse the weapon of culture, it is our preparedness to rid ourselves of ‘superiority. Today we need disarmament of culture, technology, religions, nationalities, ethnicities, gender, caste etc. We need to get rid of the superiority that is brought to differentiate humans; getting rid of superiority is not getting rid of the uniqueness. Getting rid of superiority and enjoying the uniqueness are essential conditions for receiving peace.
Jesus is called the prince of peace. Thus Christmas is the celebration bringing peace to all. Let we be able to bring reconciliation with the creation and entire humanity, enjoying the harmony and rhythm of the diverse creation and the humanity, which excludes all forms of superiority. Thus we can eagerly wait for the gift of peace. Each day (not just dec 25th) could become a day of Christmas.