Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 27th of November 2022
1st Sunday of Advent
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May we render glory to God and stop our sin, Amen! At every advent, we look back and we look forward. We look back to Christ’s first coming to the people of Israel. We look forward to Christ’s Second Coming. Right now, we look around for Christ in everyone. Today’s Gospel speaks of the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time. Jesus tells us to: “stay awake” and to “stand ready”.
Let us look at the third coming which forms an important and indispensable link between the First and Second Comings. That is what is spoken about in the Second Reading in the opening words: “You know that ‘the time’ had come”. It is the welcoming of Jesus into our lives ~ here and now. This is our call to renew our “Yes” to Jesus each day. By it we both acknowledge the First Coming of Jesus in Bethlehem and prepare our souls for the Second Coming at an unknown future date.
At every Advent, the Liturgy of the Word gives our sense of time a reorientation. There’s a deliberate tension in the next four weeks’ readings ~ between promise and fulfilment, expectation and deliverance, between looking forward and looking back. Today’s Psalm continues from last week: “I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house’”. In the third verse the psalmist declares that peace may “reign in your walls”. May God’s peace be within our hearts, in our souls, and may God’s peace be upon our lips.
God loved us first. God keeps His promises to us. May we love God back. May we keep all our promises to God. May we lift up our souls to you O triune God. May whatever roadblocks or battles that we are wrestling with ~ help us to get closer to you O Christ. May our sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming – renew within us our strong desire for Christ’s Second Coming. Waiting is a struggle because we prefer immediate results. Waiting at a bus stop can be boring & waiting for a hospital test result can be absolutely-agonizing! During Advent, our patient waiting before Christmas is an active- waiting during which we prepare ourselves (body, heart + soul) to properly welcome Jesus.
Advent reminds us of our wait for the unexpected time of Jesus’ Second Coming: ‘You do not know on what day your Lord is coming’ (Mt 24:42). Staying awake is to remember death and to prepare for the reconciling moment when we will be asked to give an account of our lives before the Lord. Jesus gives this warning to his disciples in the Garden of Olives: ‘Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation’ (Mt 26:41). Advent calls us to be alert and self-aware. A deep and regular examination of conscience and confession are essential during Advent to address areas of sin in our lives, in our preparation for Christmas.
During Advent we offer Jesus our time in prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament; we offer Jesus our heart ~ cleansed through the sacrament of confession; and we help others in life. St Paul tells us in today’s Second Reading: “to live decently” to avoid sin and to “let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We lift up our souls to God. May we work through all our battles and struggles to get closer to God. May our sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming ~ renew within us our strong desire for Christ’s Second Coming. Over the week ahead, let us pray more ~ spending time in silence, pondering the scriptures, adoring the Eucharist, receiving confession and being virtuous. May we prepare our hearts for the three comings of Christ.
Be totally present to God’s movement among us. See Christ operating subtly through our thoughts, our conversations, our way of being with others. Rest your souls, restore your desire, and renew your hope – by engaging more with God within your life. Every day, God is teaching us something, but are we listening to Him? Let us make space for, spend time in silence with and make sacred our time with and before God. May we love Christ in others! May we prepare our hearts for the three comings of Christ, Amen.
A brief reminder that during Advent, each day, I strongly encourage you all: ~
1. In the morning (before work): Spend 10-15min in silent prayer & read four chapters of your Bible.
2. In the afternoon: go for a walk and pray both the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy.
3. In the evening: Read a holy book for 30min (on the saints or the virtues) & examine your conscience.
-Fr Fergal Cummins CC