First Sunday in Advent
Sunday December 1, 2013 (Jerusalem Translation)
Liturgy of the Word (NAB Translation) Lectionary: 1
Each year we cycle through the liturgical seasons in order to contemplate God’s mysteries again and again, that over time we may gain a deeper level of understanding of these mysteries and that the insights revealed may have a more profound influence over us and impact the way we live our daily lives.
You may recall that The Sunday Readings are on a three-year cycle which ensures that even if you only go Mass one day a week on Sundays that you will cover almost all of the New Testament and much of the rest of the Bible in three years. We have just completed Year C – which covered the Synoptic gospel of Luke. Now we’re starting YEAR A which will take us back to Matthew as our primary Gospel source.
This week’s first reading from the book of Isaiah sets the stage for the season of advent as the Old Testament prophet promises that a time is coming when people from around the world will come to God – The term “mountain of the Lord” is frequently used as a symbol of God’s presence. The season of Advent is to help us metaphorically climb that same mountain and come to God. This reading also tells us of a totally revolutionary and radical transformation that will happen once all the nations actually come to God, saying that the conflicts brought about by our sinful human condition will be healed to the extent that “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” and “lambs lie down with lions.”
Our responsorial Psalm 121, echoes a similar theme as the reading from Isaiah. This psalm was traditionally sung by the pilgrims as they went up to Jerusalem for the festivals.
The Second Reading comes from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Here Paul gives a wake-up call to the Romans and to us as well This is the traditional reading for the first Sunday of Advent with the message that since we simply do not know when our lives will end or the world will end, we must live every day fully awake, paying attention to the things in life that really matter to God, living holy lives and avoiding sin, on the ‘lookout for’ and ready to meet the Lord.
In our reading from the Gospel of Matthew, we see a similar theme as Jesus reminds us of the time of Noah where people were so immersed in the here and now that they paid no attention to what life was truly about. Paschasius Radbertus a monk and theologian who lived in the 8th century says in his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, “Consequently we must always be on the lookout for Christ’s twofold coming, the one when we shall have to give an account of everything we have done, and the other when he comes day after day to stir our consciences. He comes to us now in order that his future coming may find us prepared.”
It is interesting to notice that these readings for the first Sunday of Advent –all in slightly different ways –help set the stage for a season of expectation and anticipation – a season of watching and waiting. It’s a season that can be very subtle SO we take this time to try to heighten our alertness so that we can take notice when He crosses our paths in hidden and mysterious ways through the people, events, and coincidences of our lives.
Reflection done by Steve Scott
Theme song – Ignite – Soundwave soundwave.cc
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