December 1st : Gospel Reflection for the first Sunday of Advent The 1st Sunday of Advent
Let us walk in the Light of the Lord
As the seasons change, so too does the liturgical life of the church. This Sunday as we begin the Sacred Season of Advent, we also begin a new liturgical for the year ahead. Hopefully we will notice these changes around us, especially in our churches. The first candle on the Advent Wreath is lit; the altar and sanctuary are decorated with the colour purple. To what are our senses and attention been drawn?
In the Western hemisphere it is winter. Autumn is gone and there is little life or growth in nature around us. It is a time of stillness and hibernation. The mornings and afternoons are often cold and dark. But all is not lost or hopeless. The first reading this Sunday offers us a message of encouragement and hope; ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.’ Already we are being asked to turn our gaze to the light that will appear at Christmas. It is no wonder that in 1872 Christian Rossetti wrote one of the most popular and devotional Christmas carols; In the bleak mid-winter. The message of this is hymn lies in its simplicity – the stable that stands in the bleak mid-winter is ‘enough’ for Jesus. The carol doesn’t shout about all the joy and cheer of Christmas; instead it draws our attention to the simplest and truest gift of all – love and light. While all the lights and decorations in the shops and the adverts on television cry out for our attention, the small, single and still candle on our Advent Wreath offers us something else. It silently and calmly draws our attention to the deeper and richer meaning of these next four weeks of prayerful preparation. The shops tell us to move faster, stay busy and spend more money on those ‘must have’ gifts so we can have the ‘perfect’ Christmas. The prayers, hymns, readings and sacred symbols of Advent gently whisper another message; slow down, watch, pray and wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Here’s the great thing – we can do both! We can shop and get ready to celebrate Christmas with our families and friends. But we can also make prayer and silence a part of these preparations.
Our gospel today asks and challenges to stay awake. So as we go about our buying, shopping and cleaning we are also called to prepare a way for the Lord and stay awake. Why? We are asked to stay awake so we don’t miss anything of what we are going to see, hear and experience over these four Sacred weeks of Advent.
Advent is offered to us a time of renewal and refreshment so that we can meet God anew. God who loves us so much gives us his only Son; Jesus Christ. How sad it would be if, in all our activities and business, we actually missed what these weeks of Advent are truly about. Advent is about God coming to meet us.
Let us pray with and for each other as we begin our Advent Journey – that God will be with us to encourage, guide and lead us; as we wait in joyful hope for the coming our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
-Br Michael Moore OMI
Gospel for Sunday December 1st : Matthew 24 37-44 ©
The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect
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