First Sunday Of Advent, Year B
November 29, 2020 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community, Palm Springs, California
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 | Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
I Corinthians 1:3-9 | Mark 13:33-37
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The term “ Advent” comes from two Latin words, “Ad-ventus” which means “to arrive” or “Ad-venire” which means “to come”.
For Catholics, and all other Christians, it means the Lord is coming!
Advent also marks the beginning of the new liturgical calendar. Advent consists of a four week period in preparation for Christmas. As we move from liturgical Year A into Year B, we move from the Gospel according to Matthew to the Gospel according to Mark, the shortest of the four canonical Gospels. Mark was the first Gospel to be composed and was used by the authors of Matthew and Luke. Mark is known as the action Gospel since it is more about what Jesus did than what Jesus said.
There is no one in history whose life has raised as many questions as that of Jesus. His life on earth, teachings, and deeds, were so profound that even his disciples and closest followers were often baffled by Him. But for Jesus, Himself born a Jew, the Hebrew Scriptures were the key by which He incorporated His mission as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah.
The Jewish Scriptures foretold the arrival of Jesus numerous times in the Old Testament. For example:
1) King David may have envisioned his own resurrection, but David’s resurrection was only possible because of the resurrection of his descendant, Jesus, the Messiah.
2) In Jeremiah, the phrase, “new covenant” refers to God’s promise to Israel that He will initiate a new covenant “not like that I made with their father on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt” meaning this covenant would be “not like” the Law of Moses. It was the Messiah who would bring this new covenant. The covenant with Moses was written on stone tablets, but the new covenant with Jesus was written on our hearts.
3) Psalm 22 speaks of the righteous sufferer mocked by his enemies and forsaken by God The tone changes and the sufferer is vindicated by God and reigns over all the earth in triumph.
There are approximately forty more references in the Old Testament foretelling the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah.
Today’s first reading from Third Isaiah, after the Jews had resettled in their homeland, is a prayer of hope. It begins by paying reverence to the greatness of God: “O Lord, you are our Father. Our Redeemer is your ancient name.” Then Isaiah offers a prayer of hope for salvation. This is exactly what Jesus will give to us. We look forward to the return of Jesus and need to be watchful for that.
In our second reading from First Corinthians, Paul encourages us all to be patient and faithful as we await the coming of Jesus. Paul was referring to the Parousia or actual presence and arrival of Christ. The grace of God abundantly flows towards those who express their faith in Jesus.
In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus tells His disciples, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”
Jesus then goes on to tell a short parable in which He compares His coming to a man traveling abroad who has placed his servants in charge of the house. The servants must continue to do their assigned work and the gatekeeper must be on guard for the anticipated arrival and return of the master of the house.
In Mark’s Gospel, it is the gatekeeper whose primary task is keeping watch. At the end of the parable, Jesus instructs all of his disciples to be constantly on the lookout. He states, “What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
No one knows how or when Jesus will return, it is a mystery.
When Jesus warns us not to be asleep when He returns in His glory does not mean that we should not sleep. He is referring to is a sleep of the soul, or falling asleep spiritually.
Some of the ways we can become more like Jesus include”
Converse with God throughout the day. He will guide you if you seek His help.
Always ask for forgiveness of your sins once you are made aware of them. It means not only being sorry but turning away from sinful ways.
Be wise about who you go to for advice. Make sure they are sincere to God’s Word.
–Be Totally Committed to Jesus
Keep your focus on God at all times and do not be distracted by vain, materialistic distractions.
Praise God always, no matter the circumstances. Trust in the Lord and your needs will be fulfilled.
Show kindness to the people around you even if they aren’t showing it to you.
Being always prepared and focusing on spiritual readiness every moment of our lives is what Jesus wants from us.
So for the next four weeks of Advent, let’s watch and be prepared for when Jesus arrives on Christmas. We can experience Jesus’ living presence every day in the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Bible, and by worshipping virtually with St. Cecilia’s.
The early Christians would greet each other with the greeting “Maranatha” which is Aramaic meaning “Come, Lord Jesus.” This greeting acknowledged Jesus’ presence in each one of them.