Sunday, December 1, 2019

First Sunday of Advent

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 50 Those Working at a Distance or Traveling
Mass: Is 2:1-5; Resp Ps 122; Rm 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.


Welcome to the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new year on the Church calendar. Happy New Year!

As is customary from last year, we begin with looking at the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year to provide the context from which we reflect on the readings at Mass and our day to day living. This is what we find in paragraph 39:

Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.

During these weeks then, we are busy remembering, preparing, and praying with delight. It can also be said that we are to be watchful, explained by now Saint John Henry Newman: "This then is to watch: to be detached from what is present, and to live in what is unseen; to live in the thought of Christ as he came once, and as he will come again; to desire his second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance of his first."

It may be helpful to reflect on these words and what it means to detach ourselves from what is present and live in what is unseen, or live in faith with hope, for "faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen (Hb 11:1). How might we "throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Rm 13:12)? It may be that each one of us has at least one work of darkness. It may come in the form of consumerism that the Holy Father talked about in his homily with the Congolese community of Rome this morning at Saint Peter's. Pope Francis called consumerism "a virus that attacks the faith at the roots … it makes us believe that life depends only on what we have, so we forget about God." As a result of this kind of life, "even if the Lord comes, you just follow the appetites that come to you." The danger of this, says Pope Francis, is that our hearts become anaesthetized ... we let ourselves be burdened and dissipated by our needs.

May each of us do our part to not let this type of consumerism reign. Let us not be about the "days of Noah" (see today's Gospel), with a party without ceasing way of life. Just what need of mine will I release so as to be better equipped to meet the Lord Jesus who is coming and is already here? 

It is said that you [the Lord] will come again, and this is true. But the word again is misleading. It won't really be another coming, because you have never really gone away. In the human existence which you made your own for all eternity, you have never left us.
 (Karl Rahner) 

Thanks be to God. Let us prepare our minds and hearts.

May peace be within us (Ps 122) as we walk in the light of the Lord! (Is 2:5).

Today's photo: Our Advent wreath with greenery from our land.

© Gertrude Feick 2019

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