First Sunday of Advent
Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
1 Cor 1:3-9
The readings for the day can be found here.
Every year, Advent marks for Christians the start of a new liturgical year, and the beginning of Christmas celebrations. Generally, spirits are up, the mood is hopeful.
This time of year can inspire us all to seek new avenues of peace, new hope for prosperity, and new zeal for justice for all who lack the opportunities, the blessings, often even the basics, we enjoy.
During the next 28 days of Advent 2011, I invite you to pray with me, and as we enter the season more deeply, to pray with the psalmists, apostles and evangelists, and our co-workers, who walk us through the season, who lead us into the mystery we anticipate and celebrate, all as we wait for the promise to be fulfilled.
Throughout this season and beyond, I invite you to pray for each other, and I echo St. Paul, as I give thanks to my God always on your account. We can join all women and men of faith, women and men of good will, as we pray for a better new year, a brighter future, a country and world with hope for us all.
God bless you!
Reflection on the Readings:
Advent reminds us to be aware and at attention as we anticipate the imminent arrival of Jesus. Today’s readings remind us not only of the inevitability of His arrival, but also its unpredictability. We know neither the hour nor the day.
Today and throughout Advent, the scriptures invite us to renew our hope, to live more deeply in our faith, and to rely on the promises God makes to us. Our readings situate us in the living movement of salvation history, in the history of the world aching to welcome a savior, in the lives of people who want to serve God. We can see ourselves in each of them as they struggle to live in hope, to focus their faith, to convert their lives, to make sense in world often filled with confusion and turmoil.
As we enter Advent, our predecessors in faith begin to learn about themselves, to see themselves in relationship with God, to recognize God in their midst and the deeds God performs, the majesty God reflects–all good things for us to learn, as well. They are in awe, calling on God as their father; understanding themselves as the clay, and God as the potter: learning we are all the work of your hands.
St. Paul reiterates God’s promises to us, anticipating God’s revelation in Jesus, confirming God’s faithfulness to each of us. Both St. Paul and Isaiah provide us with consolation as they walk us through the foundations and truths of our faith.
Finally, Jesus in the gospel of Mark gives us the watchwords for Advent, for this year and for all years — in fact, the watchwords for our lives in faith: Be watchful! Be alert! He tells us…for we do not know when the time will come…when He will enter our lives completely. So, Jesus calls us – repeatedly — to be on the watch.
As we enter Advent, we can all be on the watch, preparing ourselves for His arrival, hoping for His strength and support, asking for Him to increase and deepen our faith.
Fr. Lawrence Biondi, S.J. has been President of St. Louis University since 1987.