1st Sunday of Advent

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Lectionary Readings/Readings for Mass

IS 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7

PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

1 COR 1:3-9

MK 13:33-37

Happy new liturgical year! Welcome to Cycle B. There is a lovely progression to today’s readings. Let’s begin at the end.

After we have dwelt in the past week’s readings rich with focus on the gloriousness of Christ the King, Lord of the Universe, this Sunday’s Gospel returns us to the theme of watchful readiness. The message cannot be more plain than the words of Jesus to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert!”

It is an uncomfortable reminder, right at the start of holiday activities. We don’t know when Christ will return; we don’t know when our time on this earth will be finished. It is a dangerous game to play if we want to think, in the words of a youthful St. Augustine, “Lord, make me good, but not just yet.” Jesus reminds us that we “do not know the hour when the Lord of the house is coming.”

The second reading from 1 Corinthians gives us hope – we must be ready, but St. Paul assures both us and the community in Corinth that we are well-equipped with everything we need in order to live lives of holiness.

The 1st reading from Isaiah and the Psalm are what captivate me in particular today. There is such a sense of longing here. We wait to be reunited with Christ, we are given every spiritual gift we need to prepare for such a time, but oh! Oh, how we yearn for God to see us now, to recognize all the ways in which we are trying to do what is right.

We all know those moments when we struggle so hard with living a life of faith. We wonder what kind of lover God really is. We refer to to the relationship between God and the soul as a relationship of Lover to the Beloved. And we know it is, but at times, it feels like only one of us is invested. We call out to God:

“Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?”

In the Psalm today, we cry out, “Lord, make us turn to you.”

We long. We yearn. We want to know the Lord. And he waits for us. Let us make this Advent a time for drawing closer to Him.

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