Resources - 1st Sunday in Advent
Year B: Mark 13:33-37
- Stay awake! 1st Sunday of Advent
At the beginning of
a new year and the holy season of Advent we hear a short passage from Mark, the
first evangelist to write a Gospel. It is appropriate that we hear from Mark because
his own community was experiencing what we are today. They knew that Jesus was
the Son of God and they knew of his teachings about the Reign of God. They knew
of his death and resurrection and assurance to return and they were eagerly awaiting
this promised event.
We, as current disciples, know these
truths also. We too await eagerly the coming of Christ and the reality of the
Reign of God, in fact we pray frequently for this very event. Every time we pray
the Our Father we pray that God's Kingdom may come, God's will be done. Perhaps
through the repetitive nature of this familiar prayer we can become immune to
the power of the words prayed.
This longing for the coming
of the Lord is an important aspect of Advent. However, during Advent we are conscious
of the two different 'comings' of Jesus. Firstly, as the vulnerable baby placed
in a trough that was used to feed animals. Our churches remember this event by
gradually erecting our nativity scene across the four weeks of Advent and then
we really celebrate the reality of Jesus, the Christ, born as a human baby at
Secondly, we await the coming of Jesus
our Saviour who has promised to return. Like the man in the parable who went abroad
and left the doorkeeper to be vigilant and awake, waiting for his return. We are
like that doorkeeper vigilant but also confident that our Lord Jesus Christ will
return to judge humanity.
In the meantime we are not meant
to take our role as Christians for granted. We are meant to be busy living out
the reality of our gifts received through Baptism and Confirmation and nourished
by the Eucharist.
We are called to be that sign of contradiction
that Jesus was in his time. We are meant to reject the 'glamour of sin' under
the guise of materialism and consumerism. We are 'called' to be the voice for
those who are marginalised in our society and to speak out for the common good.
We are 'gifted' to be an experience of God to those around us. So please, take
up the invitation to "go in peace to love and serve the world".
Year C: Mt 24:37-44 -
The Unknown day and hour - 1st Sunday in Advent
hear from Matthew's Gospel at the beginning of another Church year, in fact we
will be reading Matthew's Gospel throughout this new year A. It is helpful to
remember that Matthew was writing for a mostly Jewish community who was watching
their world disintegrate.
had witnessed the Temple being ruined and Jerusalem almost destroyed and now their
relations with the traditional Jewish faith were fracturing as certain choices
were made about what it meant to be a follower of Christ. These were indeed very
fearful times; all that was known and understood was being destroyed.
is helpful to bear this in mind as we reflect to today's Gospel. The theme is
about being watchful, not neighbourhood watch, but watchful and alert to the will
of God, watchful to our relationship with God, watchful and prepared for God's
Yes, Matthew is
asking us to think about the 'end time' or parousia, but we also need to be watchful
in our everydayness of seeing God's action in our lives. If we are alert to God
then we will never feel alone even if our known world is being destroyed.
mentions that it was the same in Noah's day when the world was to be destroyed
by a flood; the people ignored the warnings and went about their lives. Some things
don't change - some people feel self-sufficient and do not see a place for God
in their lives, they are busy and so their lives may appear complete.
we see others whose lives are turned upside-down by an event or a diagnosis and
they do not have a relationship with God to support them through the situation.
It seems to be a weekly event that we hear of someone being diagnosed with cancer.
once said "remember yesterday, plan for tomorrow, BUT live for today."
If we thought that today was our last day on earth we would live differently,
we would manage our relationships carefully and we would have God at the centre.
Today's Gospel asks us to be prepared and not be careless
in the things that pertain to God. As God loves us so completely it is only a
matter of stopping in our busyness and taking a breath to know that God is there
ANGLE - "Therefore stay awake - for you do not know on which day your Lord
Someone once said A Life unreflected
upon is not worth living. And it's not like reflecting on it right at the end
is of any use. What they mean is that we have to constantly be reflecting on it
- to acknowledge the good bits and to find ways to improve ourselves.
through your week day by day and ask yourself: At which points would I not have
wanted Jesus to turn up unexpectedly? What things have I done that Jesus would
not be happy with? When I was fighting with someone? Ignoring someone who needed
me? Focusing on myself more than others? Carrying out an action that hurts or
Or which are the points that
I wouldn't mind him walking in on - when I did something for someone else, when
I tried to make peace, I took time out to talk to God, when I was reaching out
to someone who needed me - even if it was hard.
is what he means by "staying awake": being constantly aware of how we
live our lives and asking - do we live how Jesus wants us to?
Ministry Resources 1st Sunday in Advent
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