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This Sunday, as we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, we also celebrate the beginning of a new liturgical year. The focus of the season of Advent is on the two comings of Christ --- the first at his birth and the second at the end of time. The promise fulfilled and the promise of what is yet to come are both part of our Advent celebrations.
Our Gospel for this first Sunday of Advent is from Mark. In the section we read this Sunday, Jesus tells his disciples: “Be watchful! Stay Alert! You do not know when the time will come.” This might seem like a call to be spiritual insomniacs or to always be on the alert. Jesus, though, follows these words with a parable about a man traveling abroad who takes care that his house is properly cared for and guarded while he is away. This parable reminds us that if we are diligent and prepared, we will be ready to meet the Lord whenever and in whatever manner he comes.
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It shares the theme of the Gospel. It is a prayer for God to reveal God’s self.to the Israelites who are being held in captivity in Babylon. Isaiah also prays that the people would be properly disposed for God’s revelation. “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in all our ways!”
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In the section we read today, Paul gives thanks for the gifts of God that have been manifested in the Church at Corinth. “I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. What helps you to be prepared to meet Christ?
2. In retrospect have you ever realized that you missed recognizing the presence of Christ?
3. Where have you seen the grace of God at work in your life?