November 27, 2011 – First Sunday of Advent
Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37
Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Liturgical year. This season is a time of preparation. We are preparing to celebrate the coming of Savior, born in Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago. But that is not all. Advent also offers us a time to prepare for Christ’s second coming, for the day when He will return in glory, and today’s readings focus on this reality, directing us to be watchful and alert as we wait for His return.
All three readings bear this same expectant spirit with the same message for us – be ready, always.
What’s more, all three remind us that, as we live our lives in joyful anticipation of the Lord’s coming, we are His creatures, and are charged to live accordingly.
In the reading from Isaiah, we find the pleas of a people who have just returned from exile to find that Jerusalem had not been restored as they had hoped. The writer begs the Lord, “O, that thou would rend the heavens and come down.” they are eager for the Lord to intervene. Then, the writer concludes his lamenting plea with, “We are the clay and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hands.”
The parable in Mark’s gospel echoes these same sentiments. Jesus, the fulfillment of the Jews hopeful preparation, has come into the world. God has intervened, and yet, there is still this need to prepare for what is to come and to stay watchful and alert as we prepare. Clearly, the Lord is addressing the second coming. He tells His listeners about a man who, when traveling abroad, places His servants in charge, each with His own work to do.
“Be watchful! Be alert! … You do not know when the Lord of the House is coming.”
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, too, is eschatological in it’s message: He will keep you faithful to the end,” Paul tells us. And Paul encourages his readers to take heart, because as they live their lives in the here and now, they have been given everything they need. The Lord has provided. “You are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our lord Jesus Christ,” he tells them.
Like the Corinthians, we have been given every spiritual gift and countless material blessings, and we need to live our lives gratefully using what the Lord has given us as we prepare for His coming in glory. Indeed, our very lives are gifts from Him, and we ought to live them as such, glorifying Him in all we do and waiting in joyful anticipation for the day when Christ will return.