Wednesday, November 23, 2011

According to Your Word - First Sunday of Advent

(Image of the Advent wreath is from ImageVine/courtesy of All rights reserved.)

Cycle B
(Is 63:16,17,19,64: 2-7; I Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37)

Watchfulness is the word that fills the Scripture reading and begins this new Liturgical Year. For the community of Israel listening to the prophetic words of Isaiah, it is a watchfulness for the actions of God who is the “faithful Father.” For the community gathered to hear the Good News according to Mark, it is a watchfulness for the actions of Jesus Christ, God’s faithful Son.

While the community of Israel was enjoying a respite from enemy attack and exile, their relative ease found them forgetful of the God who is their very life. Verse 5 of chapter 64 remarks: Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! They were losing sight of their true identity, which was always to be a reflection of God’s just and loving ways. Yet because God is always the “faithful Father,” faithful men and women, like the prophets, were sent to remind them. Advent is the time when Christians are reminded to keep a faithful watch for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And the liturgy, whose spirituality is really about remaining watchful for the Lord in all the aspects of our lives, helps us to remember that God is our very life. How can we do this? St. Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians pays tribute to the many gifts that infuse the church and tells them that these gifts flow from God. Such gifts, whatever they are, should be used to build up fellowship with one another and, therefore, with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Advent summons will bring us to incarnate the ultimate gift that Paul will later address in Chapter 13: Love. Incarnate Love: the feast that we prepare to remember as the first Christmas and the feast that we will live eternally as the last.

– Fr. Carl Vacek, T.O.R.


Eric Anthony Folio said...

A very beautiful reflection, Fr. Carl.