First Sunday of Advent 2017
Readings of the day: RB 52Mass: Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; Resp. Psalm 80; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37HAPPY NEW YEAR!Welcome to the new liturgical year 2017/2018.May God be praised!
Now that we are in the midst of Advent [began with First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) last night and ends before First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) of Christmas], let us remind ourselves of what our Church teaches us about this holy season. In the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year, 39, we learn of the ‘twofold character’ of the season. Advent ‘is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered’. In the same way, Advent is ‘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.’
Looking to this teaching and today’s readings, I reflect on how I will open my mind and heart to make Advent a period of devout and expectant delight.
I have asked myself a few questions that helped me list three practical and specific ways I will enlarge my mind and heart during this season. Others may them find helpful for personal, communal, and/or family discussion: how have my senses become dulled so that I don’t notice the ever-present Christ in the beauty and wonder of those with whom I live or work? How have I wandered from your ways, O Lord, and hardened my heart with anger, jealousy, or resentment? How can I better witness to the joy and delight of God’s love and mercy that envelop me? Do I stop to see and hear the glory of creation, the work of God’s hands? Indeed, ‘no ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him’!Almighty God,help us to be watchful and alert for your presence now,and look forward with delight to when You come again.‘WHAT I SAY TO, I SAY TO ALL: “WATCH!”’Lord, make us turn to you;let us see your face and we shall be saved.(Resp. Psalm 80)