Readings & Homily – 1st Sunday Advent Cycle A

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Readings

Sunday, 27 November 2022
The First Sunday of Advent. – Cycle A
Readings and Antiphons on p. 28 of the Daily Missal and on p. 21 of the Sunday Missal.

Entrance Antiphon.

To you, I lift up my soul, O my God. In you I have trusted; let me not be put to shame. Nor let my enemies exult over me; and let none who hope in you be put to shame.

First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

A reading from the Book of Isaiah.

The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw
concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 

It shall come to pass in the latter days 
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains, 
and shall be raised above the hills,
and all the nations shall flow to it, 
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide for many peoples,
and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122:1-2.4-5.6-7.8-9 (R. cf. 1)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm beginning and ending with the response:

R/. We shall go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord.
For Israel’s witness, it is
to praise the name of the Lord.
There were set the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray,
“May they prosper, those who love you.”
May peace abide in your walls,
and security be in your towers.

For the sake of my family and friends,
let me say, “Peace upon you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord, our God,
I will seek good things for you.

R/. We shall go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14a

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters:

You know what hour it is,
how it is full-time now for you to wake from sleep.
For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;
the night is far gone, the day is at hand.
Let us then cast off the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light;
let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day,
not in revelling and drunkenness,
not in debauchery and licentiousness,
not in quarrelling and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh.

The Word of the Lord.

Please stand for the Gospel.

Alleluia. Alleluia.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation.
Alleluia.

Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

At that time:
Jesus said to his disciples,
“As were the days of Noah,
so will be the coming of the Son of man.
For as in those days before the flood
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
until the day when Noah entered the ark,
and they did not know until the flood came
and swept them all away,
so will be the coming of the Son of man.
Then two men will be in the field;
one is taken and one is left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one is taken and one is left.
Watch therefore,
for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
But know this, that if the householder had known
in what part of the night the thief was coming,
he would have watched
and would not have let his house be broken into.
Therefore you also must be ready;
for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Homile

It was the first Sunday of Advent, and after Church, a mother was talking to her young daughter.

  • She told her daughter that, according to the Bible, Jesus will return to earth someday.
  •  “When is he coming back?” the daughter asked.
  • “I don’t know,” replied the mother.
  • Then the little girl asked, “Can’t you look it up on Google?”

Being connected to the web has changed the way we do things.

  • Think about how we tell the time.
  • I know some people don’t wear a wrist watch any more because they always have their phone with them and they can check the time on their phone to the millisecond.  
  • I remember the very first wrist watch I owned. It was rather inaccurate and would gain about 2 or 3 minutes a week.
  • I had to wind it every day or it would just stop.
  • I remember listening to the radio for the time signal before the news. It would go beep beep beep and then on the last beep it would the exact time on the hour and I would set my watch.  

When Paul tells his Roman Christian community, ” You know what hour it is, how it is full-time now for you to wake from sleep….,” he’s not looking at his wrist watch or the clock on the wall .

  • They told the time in those days with a sundial, or a hour glass.
  • It seems in our modern world we are driven by time.
  • Our lives are subject to the demands of the calendar and clock.
  • We frequently check our planners to see what we must run to next.
  • Do we have the time? Will we be late?
  • Parents say how hard it is to coordinate the schedules of family members.
  • We seem to run on different clocks and schedules.
  • We look at the clock and can tell where we were an hour ago and where we have to be next.

It is the beginning of Advent, things are only going to speed ahead as we enter more and more into the holiday shopping season.

  • But let’s stop and listen to what Paul wants to tell his Roman community and us.
  • He is telling us what time it is and he is not looking at a clock.
  • He is looking at a different kind time and future.
  • He reminds us that we had a beginning and we will have an ending.
  • Are we prepared for God to end the world we know?
  • That may sound like bad news.
    • It sounds like a cartoon of an old man with a beard waving a placard saying, ‘The world is going to end tomorrow!”
  • But Paul is trying to remind us that, with Christ’s return, God wants to bring about a new creation, or finish what God began in Jesus Christ.

” For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;
the night is far gone, the day is at hand,” he tells us.

  • That new day is like when we have to go out to a special event.
  • We dress up for it with appropriate clothes.
  • So, it is for us, Paul says.
  • We have to stop dozing, being distracted and sleeping.
  • We must get up out of bed, and dressed for what God has waiting for us.
  • It may still be dark outside, but “the day is at hand.”
  • We are planning for an important event and we ask, “What shall we wear?”
  • Paul tells us the “dress code” for what God is about to do: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • How do we do that?

First, he tells the Romans, “Let us then cast off the works of darkness.”

  • Then Paul tells us what to do next.
  • He wants us to follow Christ by doing his deeds, follow a good way of life.
  • Don’t get distracted by people and things that draw us away from Christ.
  • Note, that besides personal sinful behaviour we must stop doing what can break our community – “rivalry and jealousy.”
  • Those may have been the very obstacles that divided the Roman church and would prevent them from spreading the good news.

The new day God is planning for us has already begun in the resurrection of Christ from the dead and his gift of the Holy Spirit to us.

  • In Paul’s time the sense of Christ’s imminent return was charged with anticipation.
  • Paul believed the second coming of Christ would happen in his lifetime.
  • He was totally wrong about that.
  • But for Paul and the early Christians, it looked like their prayer, “…thy kingdom come,” was about to happen.
  • It has been a long time since then.
  • How can we keep alive the anticipation of Christ’s coming that Paul is proclaiming?
  • Nothing has happened.
  • So far, we are still waiting.
  • Can we blame members of the community for looking elsewhere for comfort, pleasure and excitement?
  • We don’t have Paul’s vision, he never gave us a specific date for the big day.
  • And we can tire of waiting.

Time was on Paul’s mind.

  • How difficult it must have been for this tireless apostle to have lost precious time locked up in prison.
  • From that place of confinement he was eager for Jesus’ second coming.
  • We hear that impatience in the second reading today.  

Paul believes in the promise God has made to us in Christ.

  • If we wake up, he tells us, we can trust God will act decisively in the future.
  • In fact, if we open our eyes we can see God has already begun to heal our brokenness, forgive our sins and, we believe, overcome death.
  • The word of God reveals God’s plans for us and the world and that stirs us to renewed hope this Advent.
  • Let’s put aside our old ways and do what Paul directs, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul stirs baptismal images when he says, “cast off” and “put on.”

  • We must cast aside our old ways and put on the garments of the baptized.
  • Paul uses a familiar term for our old ways, they are from the desires of the “flesh.”
  • That is, a life that does the “works of darkness” and is turned away from God.

We were baptized and so are already dressed in Christ and in him have the future God has prepared for us.

  • Let’s not doze, or fall asleep, but stay awake for our God is already healing our injured world.
  • There is still plenty of darkness around us, but we will stay dressed in Christ’s light till he comes and we will, as Paul tells us, “throw off the works of darkness.”
  • By his coming into the world Jesus’ presence brought light.
  • It is that light that comes when we do works of love, justice and peace.
  • We have accepted Christ and we commit ourselves to living in his light and shining that light in the world.
  • When we do that we will face challenge, but Christ has promised the support of the grace we need.
  • It is grace that enables us to wake up, “…put on the armour of light” and become light for others.

Paul is saying we should be all wrapped up in Jesus.

  • He is saying we should have Jesus wrapped all around us.
  • It reminds me of the prayer known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate, part of which goes,

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Christmas is coming when our eyes and much of society’s eyes will turn to the babe Jesus.

  • The shops have been in a frenzy this weekend with all sorts of sales and promotions.
  • They want us focussed on the commercial Christmas and shop till we drop.  
  • But Advent puts a pause on all that for us and directs us not to the baby in a manger, but to the adult, risen and returning Christ.

From today’s Romans reading:

Brothers and sisters: You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to wake from sleep.

Reflection:

Paul believes in the promise God has made to us in Christ. If we wake up, he tells us, we can trust God will act decisively in the future. In fact, if we open our eyes we can see God has already begun to heal our brokenness, forgive our sins and, we believe, overcome death.

So, we ask ourselves:

  • While we wait for Christ’s return how do you experience his presence now in your life?
  • What are the works of darkness Paul warns us about?
  • How can we follow his advise and “Put on the Lord Jesus?”

Communion Antiphon.

The Lord will bestow his bounty, and our earth shall yield its increase.

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