Be Watchful – A Season of Holy Longing

 

First Sunday of Advent: Year B

Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B, 64:2-7
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:33-37

Be Watchful – A Season of Holy Longing

As we begin a new Liturgical Year, we take step back to examine the divine drama of when heaven’s treasure is deposited on the earth. The First Sunday of Advent invites us into a holy longing, a time of prayerful reflection upon the mystery of the Incarnation. Sometimes it is hard to grasp this reality when the world is already celebrating Christmas by selling its wares. The Church gifts us with the season of advent every year so that we can really discern and examine what the coming of Christ means to us. Today’s gospel reminds us that we have been endowed with responsibilities until the Lord returns. We are to be watchful for the day when the Lord will come to us, ensuring that we have been faithful stewards on this earthly pilgrimage.

There is a tendency among people to almost pretend to relive the chronological events surrounding the Incarnation. We most certainly must approach our preparation for the Christmas event with the mind of an adult but the heart of a child. Our adult minds make us aware of why the event of the Incarnation took place. The world had separated itself from God and was awaiting its redeemer and savior. In the midst of this longing, Jesus became flesh and lived among us. The divine drama that unfolded around his birth will forever warm the hearts of children for years to come and rekindle the light of the child that still lives in us. The Christ event in its infancy is almost like a fairy tale, but the reality of Jesus’ life mission challenges the adult life and the choices we make.

Advent celebrates the “coming” of the Lord. As a people of God and members of His Church we are entrusted with his mission to proclaim the good news of the kingdom. While memories of childhood crèches warm the heart, the conviction of Jesus compassion sets our hearts on fire. The gospel challenges us to be alert at all times and watch for the time of the Lord’s arrival. Since Christ has already been made Incarnate, we are invited to be alert to the subtleties of His presence around us. Advent constantly reminds us that Jesus is Emmanuel – that is, God-with-us. We pray this advent that we will allow God to be with us in all that we do and say.

Prayer

Marantha! Come, Lord Jesus. Come into a world that yearns to know your love. May your Church encounter you today, as did those people from ancient times. Come enter into the lives of those who are broken and in need of your love. Be in the joys of those who have much to celebrate. Enliven our hearts with a holy longing. Keep us watchful in prayer until you come in glory! Amen.

Questions

What did the coming of Christ mean to ancient Israel?
What does the Christ event mean to you?
What does Jesus mean by the coming of the Son of Man?
How will you observe the Season of Advent in your home?
Why is it important for Christians to celebrate Christmas each year and spend time in prayerful preparation for the sacred feast?
Would you be prepared to meet Christ face to face if your life was taken from you today? Why or why not?
Is Christ the center and focus of your life? Why or why not?

Wisdom of the Fathers

“Today, on the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year; that is, a new journey of the People of God with Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, who guides us through history toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, this day has a special charm, it makes us experience deeply the meaning of history. We rediscover the beauty of all being on a journey: the Church, with her vocation and mission, and all humanity, peoples, civilizations, cultures, all on a journey across the paths of time….

…This journey never comes to an end. Just as in each of our lives we always need to begin again, to get up again, to rediscover the meaning of the goal of our lives, so also for the great human family it is always necessary to rediscover the common horizon toward which we are journeying. The horizon of hope! This is the horizon that makes for a good journey. The season of Advent, which we begin again today, restores this horizon of hope, a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s Word. A hope which does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful! He does not disappoint! Let us think about and feel this beauty.

The model of this spiritual disposition, of this way of being and journeying in life, is the Virgin Mary. A simple girl from the country who carries within her heart the fullness of hope in God! In her womb, God’s hope took flesh, it became man, it became history: Jesus Christ. Her Magnificat is the canticle of the People of God on a journey, and of all men and women who hope in God and in the power of his mercy. Let us allow ourselves to be guided by her, she who is mother, a mamma and knows how to guide us. Let us allow ourselves to be guided by her during this season of active waiting and watchfulness.”

— Pope Francis in his Angelus Address in St. Peter’s Square, 1 December 2013

 

 

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