NOV. 29. ADVENT. WK 1. SUN. (B) Mk 13:33-37
Updated: 7 days ago
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So, stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
As we enter into Advent, we have to be conscious of the fact that this season had its origins in the Old Testament before the birth of Christ Our Redeemer, who had been promised to God’s People for centuries via the Prophets.
This means the Advent Season preceded the written Gospels and so the Gospel readings are not as relevant to the season as are the Old Testament readings, however the message of the Prophets is always in accord with the Gospels so they can still be used to assist us to prepare for the coming Christmas Season.
This is borne out in today’s Gospel: “Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come” are the words spoken by Christ thirty years after his birth, but this same message was proclaimed by the Prophets for centuries as they sought to have God’s people prepare for the arrival of their redeemer!
“Prepare the way of The Lord, make straight a path for him” is a saying from the prophet Isaiah and Christ continues to give us the same message, as does his Church today, as it seeks to have us prepare for the Christmas Season, which remains a Time of Grace for those who take their Faith seriously.
The Advent period, in the 21st century, offers us an ‘invitation” to grow in love; - and to walk away from pride, self-love and sin, and heed the teachings and message of Christ. Just as the God’s people, in the Old Testament had to “repentu” of their sins, so do we!
“Stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
While in the Old Testament this message was applied to the promised arrival of a redeemer; - for us the exact same message is applied in relation to the approaching Christmas season, where Christ will reveal to us the changes we need to make in our lives; - if we wish to be ready to meet God at his final ‘coming’!
The prayer to God from today’s liturgy expresses the same goal of the Advent Season, namely:
“Grant your faithful, we pray, Almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom”; - both here on earth, and also with you in eternal life!
Gospel Acclamation Psalms 84:8
Lord, show us your mercy and love,
and grant us your salvation.
First reading Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8
O that you would tear the heavens open and come down
You, Lord, yourself are our Father,
‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.
Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways
and harden our hearts against fearing you?
Return, for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your inheritance.
Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!
– at your Presence the mountains would melt.
No ear has heard,
no eye has seen
any god but you act like this
for those who trust him.
You guide those who act with integrity
and keep your ways in mind.
You were angry when we were sinners;
we had long been rebels against you.
We were all like men unclean,
all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.
We have all withered like leaves
and our sins blew us away like the wind.
No one invoked your name
or roused himself to catch hold of you.
For you hid your face from us
and gave us up to the power of our sins.
And yet, Lord, you are our Father;
we the clay, you the potter,
we are all the work of your hand.
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (C) Gospel Luke 21:25-28,34-36
That day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’
The message of the first Sunday of Advent is remarkably simple; - be prepared! It matters not if it be the end of life and Judgement; - or the end of the world; - we are being told to be ready; -
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth".
Being ready involves listening to the Word of God; - meaning the Scriptures and Jesus Christ (The Word) and who will come among us again shortly as an infant, born in a stable and who is destined to die on a Cross; - for our sins! If we want to be ready for the fast approaching end of life; - we need to learn from this man, and spend our lives pondering his teachings; - remembering He is the Son of God!!
"Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive. all that is going to happen, and to stand "with confidence before the Son of Man."
To stand, with confidence, before the Son of Man, means to learn from him; - both how he lived his own life, and how he prayed. He became one of us in order, not only to make reparation for our sins through suffering, but also to teach us how God wants us to live the Great Commandment; - To Love God, and to Love our Neighbour!
We must never lose sight of the purpose of our life on earth; - to Love! To Love God and to Love our Neighbour; - which is what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was sent to do, and to teach! -
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; - he who follows me will not walk in darkness!"
But we must also remain aware of our sinfulness which is why Christ told us we must pray for Divine Assistance in the form of Grace: -
"Pray at all times for the strength to survive, all that is going to happen!"
Gospel Acclamation Ps 84:8
Lord, show us your mercy and love,
and grant us your salvation.
Second reading 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
May you be blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it.
You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.