Come, Lord Jesus
Greetings on this the 1st Sunday of Advent
Readings: IS 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7; PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; 1 CORR 1:3-9; MK 13:33-37
Long Standing Hope
People, humans, need hope. We are a people of hope.
During Advent our Old Testament readings focus on the hope of the really big things. The Old Testament hopes for peace, tranquility, sufficiency of foods/provisions and an end to suffering.
This hope is brought to us in the story of the desert journey to a fertile land and later the gathering in of a scattered people. The hope in the miraculous is expressed in the promise that the blind will see, the deaf will hear and the lame will walk.
In our time we look for the same things as the long standing hopes but with two reassurances to strengthen our hope.
- Jesus Christ has been revealed (the Incarnation manifests the salvific plan in the person of Jesus – God saves).
- God is in our midst (Emmanuel).
This new hope, the good news, is first known by the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Baptist.
For our Advent journey this year, let us contemplate Mother Mary and John the Baptist – the first to know the new hope that we maintain even today.
- Mary – the interior life. The life of prayer and holding close all things good and bad deep within the heart and glorifying God. Mary draws us into the hope of peaceful expectations and trust in the Lord.
- John the Baptist – the exterior life. John helps us realize the world we live in, the world we operate in, needs reform and correction. If Mary calls us to the interior hope of prayer then John calls us to the actions and methods of a life lived in the rightness with God and man. He clearly prepares the way of the Lord, for us.
Mary and John are our guides to living an Advent life. A life of the hopeful expectation.
Each of these, Mary and John, each with his own work (MK 13:34) the first workers of the New Testament. Jesus tells us to ‘Be Alert!’ Be alert – each to his own work.
Christ the King
In the readings leading up to Advent the Church draws from the Book of Revelation.
The purpose, using the theme of Christ, King of the Universe, reassures us that there will be an end to injustice and a new beginning of peace in the Kingdom. These readings affirm the hope of an all-powerful God bringing that which we can only hope for.
Advent Week One
Now this week, following today, 1st Sunday Advent, the readings are focused on Jesus building out his Church. The Church to become the vehicle of the new Kingdom and the peace we so deeply desire.
|Monday||Call of the Apostles.|
|Tuesday||Praising God after the return of the 72.|
|Wednesday||Healing and feeding the many.|
|Thursday||Foundation of rock is the Gospel.|
|Friday||Heal the two blind men.|
|Saturday||Key part to relate to each with his own work: ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.|
Grace Given Grace Received
Don’t sleep! Each of us has work to do. Mary work and John work. You are among those Jesus prayed for and who instructs us to pray for laborers for his harvest!
Don’t worry either. He has given you all the free gift you need, his grace:
- You are adopted children and you are sanctified to share the divine love and be in friendship with God which is sanctifying grace.
- You have habitual grace that is strengthen during the Advent journey.
- You have actual grace to help us conform our lives and will to God’s.
- You have Sacramental grace, especially today, the Eucharist to strengthen you.
- You have your own special grace, Charism, to carry out that only you and you alone can do.
Advent is a hopeful period where we look to two events.
- The memorial of the first Christmas and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- The promise of his second coming.
Both at the same time. The first to strengthen our hope in the second. He will return. Maranatha!
Do you know this Greek philosophical paradox? Plutarch asked whether a ship that had been restored by replacing every single wooden part remained the same ship.
If a ship sets sail on a long journey and along the way, slow but surely, every plank of the wooden ship is replaced. When the ship returns to port from which it came years later, is it still the same ship?
Yes and No.
No, because the wood is new but that is an inferior truth to the Yes.
Yes, Aristotle explains that the formal cause, or design, does not change, even though the matter used to construct it may vary with time (https://human.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Philosophy)
You are that Ship
Our design, our hope remain even though we start as 6 pound crying babies and through the journey become 6 foot tall adults (in a manner of speaking).
Our first hopes and our last hopes all are from the same source and the same purpose.
Each meal we eat may change the material of which we are made but not the substance of who we are.
Our work remains and is particular to our own ship but common among all of us, which is, the Advent life of Mary and John.
May your Advent journey this year be special and transformative.
May you return to port, new and refreshed, every plank constructed in hope.