Monday of the 1st Week of Advent

  • Matt 8:5-11
  • The Centurion’s Servant

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Association of Catholic Priests

2018 03 December 2018. Advent Week 1, Monday

Vision of a better future

In the weekdays of Advent we read the sweeping vision’s of Isaiah about a future of universal peace. He cherishes the hope that all nations and races will live together harmoniously and join in worshiping the true and only God. This future will draw us beyond all narrow racial or national boundaries so that all of humanity becomes one family of faith and love. Are we willing to open our doors and welcome all these people, so different from ourselves?

In the Gospel, Jesus is invited to the home of a Roman centurion – a soldier whose job is to represent a foreign, oppressive power – and he accepts! When the Roman who hesitates, feeling unworthy of Jesus’ presence in his home, Jesus is amazed at such genuine humility, and notes the centurion’s care for his slave, who would have been from some defeated nation. The centurion bows before Jesus, a Jew, for the sake of his slave!

Jesus praises this outsider as a genuine man, a spiritual descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He still advises us to look in unlikely places and people to learn to be his true followers today. He tells us too, “I have never found this much faith” in your midst. During Advent can we too learn from outsiders how to live worthily in God’s holy presence? From unexpected sources we can learn so much.

Only say the word!

The centurion’s request in today’s gospel is very familiar to us. Before Holy Communion we repeat it almost word for word. It contains two main points: recognizing his own unworthiness to have the Lord enter his home, and a total trust in the power of Christ’s word.

This centurion’s attitude is worth pondering during Advent. We recognise our limitations, aware of our needs and longing for a fuller presence of the Lord in our lives. We also share his great trust that Jesus can help us, convinced that his word can heal and renew us, recreate and refashion us. Out of our poverty we pray with trust, “Come Lord Jesus.”

associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2018/12/03-december-2018-advent-week-1-monday/

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Monday of the 1st Week of Advent

  • Matt 8:5-11
  • The Centurion’s Servant

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Kerygma

2017 FAITH LIKE A ROCK Imagine, a proud Roman military official begs a simple Jewish preacher from the countryside to heal his sick servant! And that just by a command! Here again, we have a story which is so familiar that we take it for granted. Actually, it should surprise us. Even Jesus is amazed, surprised; why are we not?      

This story is so remarkable because it shows some amazing attitudes. There is, first of all, the Roman centurion. He must have swallowed a lot of pride to approach a Jew and beg for help. He shows also an incredible concern, not for his son, but for a servant. And finally, what a faith this soldier had!      

The story is also remarkable because of Jesus. As a Jew, He surely did not like Romans who had occupied the land God had promised and given to His ancestors. But He is ready to accompany the soldier and heal his servant. Finally, He breaks out in a loud praise of this foreign Gentile. For sure, the Jews who heard His words did not like Him for saying that outsiders who have faith may enter heaven before many of their countrymen.      

The Church gives us this reading at the beginning of Advent and so makes us aware how important the cultivation of a rocklike faith is — something we might easily forget during these busy weeks before Christmas.      

No doubt, we have faith. But is our faith as strong and solid as the faith of the Roman centurion? What happens when problems and major trials come into our lives? Is our faith strong enough to weather these moments when God seems far away?      

The nice story about a healing miracle we read today begins to strike us when we don’t take it for granted but allow the story to confront us. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

——- REFLECTION QUESTIONS ——- Is your faith as strong as that of the Roman centurion? What can you do to strengthen your faith?

Lord, reflecting on the faith of this Roman soldier, I realize that my faith is not strong enough. Continue to nourish my faith with Your Word and with the Eucharist so that it will withstand all troubles and problems in my life. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2017-12-04

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Monday of the 1st Week of Advent

  • Matt 8:5-11
  • The Centurion’s Servant

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from My Catholic Life books

A) Faith in the Most Holy Eucharist

Monday of the First Week of Advent

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”  Mt. 8:8

This familiar line is taken from the faith of a Roman centurion.  He asked Jesus to heal his servant, Jesus agrees to come cure him, and the centurion exclaims this profound faith in Jesus stating two things: 1) He’s not worthy of Jesus’ presence in his home and, 2) His confidence that Jesus can heal his servant simply by saying the word. 

Jesus, of course, is quite impressed with this man’s faith and obliges him with the physical healing of his servant from a distance.  But Jesus does much more than a healing.  He also holds this man up as a model of faith for all.

This beautiful statement of faith from the centurion is used within the Mass to speak of two matters of faith in regard to the Eucharist: 1) We are not worthy to receive Holy Communion and, 2) We invite Jesus anyway to come and heal our souls.

Advent is a time when we especially ponder the great mystery of the Incarnation.  It’s a time when we especially ponder the mystery of God coming and dwelling with us in physical form.  Though this happened over two thousand years ago, it continues to take place at each and every Mass.  And at each and every Mass we are called to express the same faith as this Roman centurion.

Reflect, today, upon your faith in the coming of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.  Each Mass is a manifestation of the God-Man who came to live among us and live within us.  If we but have the faith of this centurion, we, too, will be blessed by our God beyond measure.

Lord, I do believe.  Help my unbelief.  Help me to see my unworthiness each time I prepare for Holy Communion.  And in that humble admission, may I also invite Your healing presence in my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

mycatholic.life/books/catholic-daily-reflections-series/advent-and-christmas-reflections/advent-week-one/

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from 365 Days With The Lord

GOSPEL:

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 33 “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. 35 Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. 36 May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’ ”

REFLECTION:

2014 WAITING IN JOYFUL HOPE. On the first Sunday of Advent, the Gospel is telling us to be watchful, to be alert! We have to be on watch for the Master who is surely coming, but at a time we do not know. The Master is no other than Jesus, our Lord, who came once to live among human beings and is coming again at the end of human history, at the end of time.

The Gospel paints this coming of Jesus in apocalyptic colors. Jesus’ parousia or Second Coming will be marked by cataclysm in the universe. If we take the picture literally, we will shake in fear. But the purpose of the apocalyptic language is not to instill fear but to inspire hope in the hearts of believers. The “old order” will fall, and this is symbolized by the darkening of the sun and the moon and the falling of stars (cf Mk 13:24-25); however, this will be replaced by a “new order”—a “new heaven and a new earth” as symbolized by the fig tree sprouting leaves (Mk 13:28).

Christians in Mark’s time needed this assurance of their final victory because of persecution. Jesus will come again to set things right.

In his second encyclical letter Spe Salvi (nn 43-44), Pope Benedict XVI says that people today need this hope as they see a world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power, leading some to protest against the justice of God or even question the very existence of God. For this very reason, we must look forward with the certitude of hope. Christ will come again to “undo” past suffering and set things aright. It is impossible that the injustice of history should be the final word. If only for that fact, there is necessity for Christ’s return.

Thus, the image of the Last Judgment when Christ returns is not primarily a picture of terror, but an image of hope. This is our consolation and our hope.

graceandspace.org/welcome/home/365-days-with-the-lord/2283-need-for-watchfulness.html

2017 ADVENT, A SEASON OF DISCIPLINE
Advent comes from the Latin word advenire, which means coming or arrival. The season is a time of intense preparation for Jesus’ coming. We first understand this coming as his birth in Bethlehem, which calls for a joyous celebration.

Since it is a spiritual event, Christ’s coming demands of us a spiritual preparation that includes prayer and self-discipline.

The First Reading is the Israelites’ urgent prayer for God’s return. Has God gone away? Yes, in a way, God has left them because of their transgressions. God’s prolonged absence makes them feel that their life has become meaningless.

The Israelites are invoking God to come back to remove their shame. Realizing their poverty and helplessness, they now desire for God’s return to support and affirm them.

The Gospel exhorts us to be watchful and alert. His second coming, at the end of the world, no one knows. We will be judged according to our deeds, and so we must be ready. Preparation means doing good deeds.

In the Second Reading, Paul expresses his joy for the Christians in Corinth. They have received the gospel message he has preached to them. They have lived disciplined and moral lives. Paul considers them well prepared for the day of the Lord.

How do we prepare for the Lord’s coming? We respond to God’s words and practice discipline. Let us not squander this time of preparation by engaging in activities that distract us from our heavenly goal. Let us return to God and show how God is in full control of our life, and that we can say “no” to the world that lures us away from God.

This Advent, let us concentrate on building up our capacity to love by reflecting on the Word of God, by asceticism and mortification, by receiving the sacraments, and by attending ongoing formation sessions like Advent retreats and recollections.

As Christmas time draws near, we are again being enticed by consumerism and commercialism. We are tempted to satisfy our appetites at different Christmas parties. Consumer goods will be dangled at very low prices, and we will be tempted to spend beyond our means. If we are not vigilant, we may end up feeling exhausted and shortchanged by the stressful season, we may not have the experience of the baby Jesus drawing close to us on Christmas and receiving the salvation he brings.

Let us prepare rigorously, exercise discipline, and pray. To welcome Christ in our midst, let us make Advent a season of discipline and prayer.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: stpauls.ph.

tempo.com.ph/2017/12/03/need-for-watchfulness/

2020 Waiting in joyful hope Advent is the Church’s liturgical season calling for vigilance, yet brimming with hope! Regarding the “elusive virtue” of hope, believers receive some solid advice from Scripture: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone one may sincerely ask: Are these words of advice realistic and practical in our contemporary context?

We live in a world that seems, at times, devoid of genuine hope. We can easily list many depressing and difficult realities: broken families, growing poverty, disenchanted youth, endemic government corruption, random violence, proliferation of illegal drugs. And, it even appears that nothing changes. Are we Christians simply naïve and dangerously out of touch with the real world when we speak of hope?

Source of Our Hope. The writings of Paul express well the true source and object of Christian hope. In an illuminating passage (Rom 5:1-5), Paul affirms, “Through our Lord Jesus Christ… we have gained access [by faith] to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts…”

What evidence do Christians give as the basis of their hope? Simply: God’s unfathomable love has been manifested in the unique gift of his Incarnate Son, Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Thus, Christians (during Advent, at Christmas, and always) remain people of hope; with Paul they affirm, “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9).

Communicating Hope. Here we face a very difficult challenge: effectively witnessing to hope in our broken world. How do we “bridge” people’s fears and frustrations with Christian hope?

We Christians, as “missionaries of hope,” begin with a profound acceptance of life’s realities and people’s growing anxieties. Secondly, the “missionary of hope” will communicate the true source of Christian hope: Christ our Savior. In addition, the “missionary of hope” through words and concrete actions manifests solidarity with the suffering and those on the peripheries of society. It is this personal “people engagement” and “sincere service” that become the fertile ground in which the seed of hope is nurtured and grows.

God alone is our hope—even within a broken world, a wounded humanity. God’s loving presence—born for us in Bethlehem—engenders hope. God’s profound presence enables believers to “live in joyful hope.”

We Christians boldly affirm: Our God is a God of hope. Our God brought hope—both through his birth in Bethlehem and his death on Calvary. Our incarnate and crucified-risen God remains the only source of “joyful hope”—everywhere and at all times! During Advent—and always—become a “missionary of hope”!

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: stpauls.ph.

mb.com.ph/2020/11/28/need-for-watchfulness/

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Sunday Gospel Reflections

2020 Sunday Gospel Reflections

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

FIRST: IS 63: 16-17.19; 64: 1-7; SECOND: 1 COR 1: 3-9; GOSPEL: MK 13,33-37

THEME OF THE READINGS

Being in an attitude of watchfulness while waiting and hoping: here lies the focal point of the readings of today’s liturgy. The Gospel repeats three times: “Be on your guard, stay awake,” because you never know when the time will come, when the master of the house is coming. In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed, “he will continue to give you strength till the very end.” The beautiful invocation to the Lord that we find in the third passage of Isaiah expresses the wish that the Lord may break into history with his might, as if it were a new Exodus, recalling that “You are our Father.”

DOCTRINAL MESSAGE

The day of the Lord. In Advent, the tradition of the Church has combined two comings: that of the Word in the weakness of the flesh, which we celebrate on Christmas Day, and that of the Lord in the majesty of his glory, which in terms of time and mode of implementation, belongs to the kingdom of the mystery hidden in the heart of the Father. There is a thread of continuity between the two: Jesus’ historical coming forebodes and in some way anticipates his last coming at the end of history; those who go out with joy to meet Jesus of Nazareth in the mystery of his birth have no reason to fear or despair over the last and final encounter with the glorious Christ, the Lord of the universe and history. For the Christian faithful, the day of the Lord should not be identified with terrifying scenes, terrible fears, horrible paralyzing ghosts, bewildering apocalyptic visions. With Saint Paul, the Christian is certain that “the Lord will continue to give you strength till the very end, so that you will be irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (second reading). The day of the Lord calls the Christian, and every human being, to take on responsibility before the infinite mystery of the incarnation and redemption.

Certainty and ignorance. God’s revelation has unveiled to us the certainty that Jesus will come one last time, at the end of all time. As Christians, we can have no doubts about this. However, God has told us nothing about when or how this will take place. Such questions obviously lack importance as far as God is concerned. God does not reveal himself to satisfy our curiosity or to eradicate healthy hope from our heart. He reveals himself for our good and for our salvation. Not knowing when or how keeps us human beings, generation after generation, in a state of watchfulness, alert, which is what Jesus urges us to do in the Gospel.

Abandonment in the hands of the Father. Together with this evangelical attitude, the text of Isaiah proposes the attitude of filial abandonment, for God is our father and our liberator, our potter, and we are his clay. This is an attitude which is achieved and created in a special way in prayer, the crucible of the filial spirit and solid faith in God. This filial spirit makes the prophet cry out with enviable confidence: “Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down.” Five centuries later the wish would become reality with the Incarnation of the Word. When it is determined in God’s plans, heaven will tear open once again and the Son of Man will come down to judge the living and the dead and to definitively establish his kingdom of justice, love and peace.

PASTORAL SUGGESTIONS

Be on your guard! Christmas is approaching. In our society, we run the risk of “having a good Christmas”, as we would have a good summer vacation or a good national holiday. In other words, perhaps we attend Midnight Mass because “tradition compels us to,” we decorate our home with a tree with lights and a nativity scene, we celebrate the day with our family and sit down to a hearty meal, we watch on television some program on Christmas celebrations, we give our friends and loved ones nice presents, we rekindle the family ties around the hearth … These are all nice things! However, the essence of Christmas is the most sublime mystery of history: God becomes one of us. Emmanuel escapes us like water running down through fingers. Or it fades like smoke in our superficial mind, not greatly inclined to serious meditation on things that are really worthwhile. Today the liturgy tells us: Be on guard! Do not miss the chance to meditate on something important, to duly appreciate the value that we are going to celebrate.

Be on your guard! You are a sinner. We do not know the day or time when the Lord will come at the end of history, but we do know about his historical coming. Are we going to be bold enough to live not caring, as hardened sinners completely estranged from the divine Child of Bethlehem and the Lord of Glory? We are sinners. Inside, we long for sin. We must not cease to be watchful so that the Lord’s Advent finds us prepared, dressed up in our wedding attire. We are sinners: Christmas reminds us that the Son of God became man to redeem human beings from sin. Let us remember! Let us be on guard! May God’s historical coming to earth, among men and women, revive our conscience as sinners of our need for salvation. Christmas is not only a time for feelings of tenderness, closeness and celebration. It is also a time to reawaken our conscience from its slumber and to “let God be born” in our heart.

facebook.com/SundayGospelReflections/posts/4376315889120424

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Seminarians’ Musings

2020 Seminarians’ Musings

#DailyGospelMusings for the First Sunday of Advent, 29 November 2020.

(We now enter Sunday Cycle B and Weekday Cycle I of the Lectionary)

The Church today enters into a new liturgical year through the penitential and anticipatory season of Advent. Unlike many other New Years that are mostly done amidst revelry and celebration, our liturgical year begins with a strong call for vigilance and watchfulness. Our readings today ask us to move away from our complacency and hardheartedness, be watchful and alert for the coming of Christ, and to stand firm in our fidelity to God and His promises for us. By reminding us of the “end” (finality) of our lives, we rediscover the true “ends” (purpose/meaning) as human persons and children of God.

The end of time/the world oftentimes causes people to worry and be frightened of because they see it only as an event, and a terrifying one at that. But as each Advent reminds us, the “end of the world” is not the main point of our preparation and vigilance as Christians, rather it is the coming of Christ that we must be prepared for. People prepare differently and more meticulously for persons as compared to situations. Our preparation becomes more heart-felt if we know we are preparing ourselves not for something, but for Someone.

There are three elements of this “deeply personal” preparation for Christ that we will ponder on today. One, our preparation for Christ must be singularly-focused. We cannot prepare fruitfully when we are preoccupied with ourselves or with irrelevant and mundane matters. Two, it must bring about our lasting conversion. Just as we tidy up the house and make ourselves presentable to earthly guests, we ensure that our hearts and souls are ready for the unexpected coming of the divine Guest. Three, we must be constantly vigilant- that is, to be faithful to our preparation for Christ. There is no such thing as rest or “cheat days”, or special exemptions for our preparation and anticipation of Christ’s coming. Because we have been told what to do, but not when these things happen, blessed are those people who are not caught unaware, but found constantly doing what God wanted them to do.

What does this personal preparation profit us as Christians? First, unlike preparing for an event or situation where we can conveniently forget it once its over, our preparation becomes a part of us and becomes who we are as persons. Second, this enables us to have a better and more honest view regarding who we are and what we are to do in this life, as well as how we must see others and the world in the light of who we are preparing for. Finally, is the joy of finding God even in the midst of our preparation and waiting. He who is to come, has already come and is present among us. The Second Coming only serves to confirm our awareness or blindness to God’s presence in our lives, and points us to what we truly deserve as a consequence of what we are doing in our lives.

“Watch, therefore;

you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming (…)

May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.

What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

facebook.com/seminariansmusings/posts/1802584653243882

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Radio Veritas Asia

2020 Advent Watchfulness

By RVA News, 29 November, 2020

“What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:37

Are you attentive to Christ? Though this is a profoundly important question, there are many who may not even fully understand what this means. Yes, on the surface it is clear: Being “attentive” is being aware of the presence of our Lord in your life and in the world around you. So are you attentive? Are you watchful? Are you looking, seeking, waiting, anticipating and preparing for Christ to come? Though Jesus came to Earth over 2,000 years ago in the form of a little child, He continues to come to us today. And if you are not daily aware of His profound presence, then you may already be somewhat asleep, spiritually speaking.

We “fall asleep” on a spiritual level every time we turn our interior eyes to the passing, unimportant and even sinful things of this world. When that happens, we can no longer see Christ Himself. Sadly, this is becoming increasingly easy to do. Violence, sickness, hatred, division, scandal and the like plague us day in and day out. The news media daily competes to present us with the most shocking and sensational news possible. Social media daily seeks to fill our short attention span with sound bites and images that satisfy for but a moment. As a result, the eyes of our soul, our interior vision of faith, is darkened, ignored, forgotten about and dismissed. And as a result, many in our world today no longer appear to be able to cut through the growing chaotic noise so as to perceive the gentle, clear and profound voice of the Savior of the World.

As we begin our Advent season, our Lord is speaking to you in the deepest depths of your soul.  He is gently saying, “Wake up.” “Listen.” “Watch.”  He will not shout, He will whisper so that you must give Him your full attention. Do you see Him? Hear Him? Listen to Him? Understand Him? Do you know His voice? Or do the many voices all around you take you away from the deep, profound and transforming truths He wishes to communicate to you?

Reflect, today, upon the fact that God is speaking within the depths of your soul each and every day. He is speaking to you now. And what He says is all that really matters in life. Advent is a time, more than any, to renew your commitment to listen, to be attentive and to respond. Do not remain asleep. Wake up and diligently be attentive to the profound voice of our Lord.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come! May this Advent be a time of deep renewal in my life, dear Lord. May it be a time in which I strive with all my heart to seek out Your gentle and profound voice. Give me the grace, dear Lord, to turn away from the many noises of the world that compete for my attention and to turn only to You and to all You wish to say. Come, Lord Jesus, come into my life more deeply during this Advent season. Jesus, I trust in You.

rvasia.org/advent-watchfulness

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Linda Schork

2020 Daily Scripture, November 29, 2020

Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands. –Isaiah 64:7

Clay is an interesting substance that can be molded into any form. Clay comes in four types, earthenware, stoneware, ball, and porcelain. These types of clay can be fired in a kiln at various high temperatures and times. If the potter has worked the clay correctly to remove the air bubbles then it will retain its shape through the firing. In other words it doesn’t explode. A glaze then is painted onto the vessel to create a unique design and it is placed back in the kiln to be fired again so the glaze can melt and take on its own characteristics. Expert potters can recreate the same shape over and over so that they seem to be all the same. The potter might know the small flaws but you or I would not see these.

God, as the potter, created us as unique masterpieces. We are the work of his hands throughout our lives. Through God’s gentle hands he molds and shapes us into the person that we are supposed to become. As we begin a new liturgical year today, with the coming of the First Sunday of Advent, we await with hope and expectation the coming of the Lord within us in a new way. The experiences of the past year have molded and shaped us into the person we are today. We are not the same as we were last year at this time. Many have lost loved ones and jobs. Some have experienced more stress than usual whether it be at work or at home. So much of how we live and work has changed over the past ten months due to the pandemic. We are ready for something to be different. We wait in hope and expectation that there is a vaccine soon. We wait in hope and expectation that the numbers will be lower so that we can do some of the things we enjoy. We wait in hope and expectation that . . .

As we begin, a new liturgical year, we can continue to be clay. To be molded by God into the person that we were created to be with expectation that God will fill us with faith, hope, and love as we move forward towards the coming of Jesus Christ in our hearts once more.

May you and your families have a blessed Advent Season!

Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

passionist.org/daily-scripture-november-29-2020/

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from OCarm.

2020 Lectio Divina: Sunday, November 29, 2020

MEDITATIO

a) A Key to the Reading: “Watch!” This is the key word in the short passage that the Church presents for the liturgy of the first Sunday of Advent. To watch, to stay awake, to wait for the return of the master of the house, not to sleep, this is what Jesus asks of a Christian. These four verses of the Gospel of Saint Mark are part of the eschatological discourse in chapter thirteen. This chapter speaks of the destruction of the Temple and of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus takes up a point from the observation made by a disciple: “Master, look at the size of those stones!” (Mk 13:1). Jesus, then, clarifies the idea: “You see these great buildings? Not a single stone will be left on another; everything will be pulled down” (Mk 13:2). The Temple, the tangible sign of the presence of God in the midst of his chosen people, Jerusalem “built as a city, in one united whole” where “the tribes go up, the tribes of Yahweh, a sign for Israel to give thanks to the name of Yahweh” (Ps 122:4), all this, the sure sign of the promise made to David, sign of the covenant, all this will be destroyed…it is only a sign of something else to come. The disciples, rendered curious, ask the Lord who is sitting on the mount of Olives in front of the Temple: “Tell us, when is this going to happen, and what sign will there be that it is all about to take place?” (Mk 13:4). After the Jewish apocalyptic style inspired by Daniel, Jesus limits his reply to proclaiming the warning signs (false christs and prophets who will deceive by proclaiming the coming of the imminent times, persecutions, signs in the powers of heaven. cf.: Mk 13:5-32), “But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father” (Mk 13:32).

This leads us to understand the importance of a watchful and attentive waiting for the signs of the times that help us to welcome the “master of the house” (Mk 13:35). When he comes, all things will disappear, “the power of the servants” (Mk 13:34) also the signs that help us remember his benevolence (temple, Jerusalem, house). When the master comes, the “servants” and “the doorkeeper” (Mk 13:34) no longer care about the signs but take pleasure in the master himself: “Look! The bridegroom! Go out and meet him” (Mt 25:6 + Mk 2:19- 20).

Jesus often asked his disciples to watch. In the garden of Olives, on the Thursday night just before the passion, the Lord says to Peter, James and John: “Wait here, and stay awake” (Mk 14:34; Mt 26:38). Watching helps us not to fall into temptation (Mt 26:41) but to stay awake. In the garden of Olives, the disciples fall asleep because the flesh is weak even though the spirit is willing (Mk 14:38). Anyone who sleeps goes to ruin, like Samson who allowed himself to be put to sleep, thus losing his strength, the gift of God (Jud 16:19). We must stay awake always and not fall asleep and watch and pray that we may not be deceived and thus go to our perdition (Mk 13:22 + Jn 1:6). Thus “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph 5:14).

b) Questions to Orientate the Meditation and Make It Relevant:

● What does watching mean to you?

● The Lord foretells the destruction of the Temple and of the city of Jerusalem, the pride of the chosen people and symbols of the presence of God. Why does Jesus foretell their destruction?

● The Temple and the holy city were concrete forms of the covenant between God and his people. But these have gone through destruction. What are our concrete forms of the covenant? Do you think they will experience the same fate?

● Jesus calls us to transcend all forms and to attach ourselves to him. What things, forms and signs do you think the Lord is asking you to transcend so as to attach yourself more closely to him?

● Are you asleep? In what sense?

● Do you live always in expectation of the coming of the Lord? Is Advent a time for you to remember the element of waiting in the life of a Christian?

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Catholic for Life

2020 YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

HOMILY THEME: ADVENT SEASON: A PERIOD OF WATCHING AND WAITING!

BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo

HOMILY: *Is 63 : 16 – 64 : 8, 1 Cor 1 : 3 – 9, Mk 13 : 33 – 37.

A. PREAMBLE
The early Christians had 4 allied conceptions of the end time that made them fearfully vigilant ; (1) They dreaded the day of the Lord, Amos 5 : 18 – 20, Is 13 : 9, Joel 2 : 1, etc. (2) The prophesied fall of Jerusalem that finally happened in 70 Ad, Lk 21 : 5 – 11. (3) The 2nd coming of Christ, 1 Thess 4 : 16 & 5 : (4) The idea of impending persecution / martyrdom, Mk 13 : 9. The summary of the Church’s escatological teachings is the imminent coming of the end (the time is irrelevant) and the ultimate reign of Christ (destruction of the Satanic systems of evil, Rev 18 – The fall of Babylon the great city, the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication) and the reward of good and evil, Matt 25 : 31 – 46.

B. THE THEOLOGY OF WATCHING AND WAITING
With this background, today’s gospel says : ‘Be on your guard, stay awake because you do not know the time the Master of the house is coming’. In the parable of the foolish virgins, Matt 25 : 1 – 11, we take note that what made them foolish was not lack of knowledge but lack of vigilance. Vigilance is the first and the last word of the Church. The Church teaches us to be watching and waiting always because we do not know when the Master is coming so that he does not find us asleep (in mortal sin) .

In the theology of watching and waiting, we speak of the following dimensions ; (1) Watching in vigilance, Matt 25 : 1-20 , (2) Waiting in communion, 1 Cor 1: 2 – 9 – You will not be without the gift of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed and he will keep you steady without blame (purity) , 1 Thess 5 : 4 – 8. (3) Waiting in perseverance, Rom 5 : 1 – 4.

C. CONTEXUALIZATION
Ours is a society where patience /ability to wait has become the scarcest commodity in the market place of virtues. Check our banks and see impatience ; Look at our traffic and see rush ; Examine how we distribute food/entertainment during ceremonies and see impatience at work; Our young girls can no longer wait for husbands ; Our young men no longer wait to gradually make their money ; Our students can no longer wait to learn ; Our parents can no longer wait for their children to grow up before burdening them with responsibilities, etc. According to Fr Emma Onuh of blessed memory, ‘The Christmas Jesus is a very popular man but the Jesus of the Advent and Lenten season is always abandoned in all our Churches, denied in the market place, ridiculed in the offices and defiled on the streets of our daily lives. Why? Because of the “Instant – service – mentality” of our present day society ‘.

D. CONCLUSION
A good Advent season begets a good Christmas season while a good Lenten season guarantees a good Easter season. The Advent season is a period of waiting placed by the Church before Christmas and Easter to teach us that joy comes after mourning, Ps 30 : 5. The liturgical significance of the purple colour used during Advent, Lent and Funerals is vigilance. Green signifies normal life. White is for the joyful seasons (eg Christmas and Easter) while red signifies martyrdom and the Holy Spirit. Romans 5 : 1 – 4 gives us the connection between waiting and the Holy Spirit ; Suffering brings perseverance which brings hope which does not fail us because the Holy Spirit is poured out when there is hope.

Those who wait upon the Lord will have their strength renewed, Is 40 : 30. According to Fr Emma Onuh, ‘The engine of hope is powered by the oil of patience, while patience is the ability to wait gainfully’. Life itself from womb to tomb is a whole project of waiting. We must wait to be born ; to grow up, to go to school, to get admission, to graduate, to get a job/start a business, to get married, to have children ; we must wait to train them, wait to die and even in purgatory, we must wait to go to heaven. Why the female anatomy in general biology seems to be a hybrid superior to the male specie is that they are more patterned to waiting than the male; waiting for suitors, waiting for fruits of the womb, and waiting for their children to grow up and to succeed in life. This is perhaps why they survive more in the womb and outside the womb and generally live longer than men.

We must learn to watch and wait for the coming of our Lord in purity and devotion. Our 1st reading says that God is our father and we are the clay. He is the Potter and we are the work of his hands, Is 64 : 6. We must wait for God to mould and direct our destiny, Jer 29 : 11. We must put on the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love in order to watch and wait till the end. Happy Advent Season dear friends!

FR BEN AGBO

catholicforlife.com/year-b-homily-for-the-1st-sunday-of-advent-1/

2020 YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

HOMILY THEME: BE ALERT, WATCHFUL AND PREPARED

BY: Fr. Anthony Kadavil
Chaplain, Sacred Heart Home, Mobile, AL

HOMILY: The central theme of today’s readings is Jesus’ warning to us to be alert, watchful and prepared because Christ’s Second Coming, coinciding with the end of the world, can occur at any time. People, in general, used to have a paranoid fear about the end of the world.

They expected it in A.D. 204, 999 and 2000. The title of a best-seller published in 1988 was 101 Reasons Why Christ Returns in 1988. An extremely popular film released in 1999 about Christ’s Second Coming was Omega Code, and another film released in 2005 was Left Behind. Excessive fear of the tribulations accompanying the end of the world led the followers of a religious cult led by Jim Jones (in 1978), and followers of another cult called Heaven’s Gate (in 1997), to commit mass suicide. But Jesus, in today’s Gospel, gives us the assurance that we need not be afraid of the end of the world, Christ’s Second Coming and the Last Judgment if we remain alert and prepared. The Church invites us on this first Sunday of Advent to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming, first by properly celebrating during this Christmas season the fond memory of Christ’s first coming 2000 years ago, second, by experiencing Christ’s daily advent or coming in the Eucharistic celebrations, in the Holy Bible and in the worshipping community, and third, by preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming which, for us, will happen at the moment of our deaths or at the end of the World.

In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah prays for God’s active presence so that the Jewish community, returned from Babylonian exile, may remain faithful to their God. In the second reading, St. Paul prays for the reconversion of Christians in Corinth who have misused their gifts and charisms and remain ill-prepared for Christ’s Second Coming. In today’s Gospel, using the short parable of the servants and gatekeeper of an absentee master who could return at any time, Jesus instructs his followers to be alert and watchful while doing their Christian duties with sincerity. The gatekeeper and the household servants are expected to be ever vigilant because their master is sure to return. Although the time of his return is uncertain, but the reward or punishment is sure and certain.

The message of today’s Scripture is that we should live in the living presence of Jesus every day waiting for his Second Coming. We can experience Christ’s living presence in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in our worshiping community in our parish, in our family, in our own souls and in everyone around us. The early Christians experienced it, and that is why the mutual greeting among Christians was not “Hi!” or “Good Morning!” but the Aramaic, “Maran Atha” which means “Come, Lord Jesus.” This greeting acknowledged Jesus present in each of them and about to return. May God bless you and keep you ever prepared for Christ’s second coming.

catholicforlife.com/year-b-homily-for-the-1st-sunday-of-advent-2/

2020 YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

HOMILY THEME: KEEP WATCHING UNTIL THE LORD RETURNS

BY: Very Rev. Fr. John Louis

HOMILY: READINGS: Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1, 3-8 / 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 / Mark 13:33-37

The first Sunday of Advent begins the liturgical year of the Church. The word ‘advent’ means arrival or coming. Specifically in the liturgical setting, the word ‘advent’ refers to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Season of Advent, which consists of the four Sundays preceding Christmas, is a time in which we prayerfully remember the first coming of Christ, while preparing spiritually for his second coming. The spiritual preparation for the Lord’s second coming could be illustrated with the watchful waiting by an ancient doorkeeper, as in today’s gospel reading (Mark 13:33-37).

In the ancient world, a good doorkeeper stayed awake throughout the period of duty so that he could promptly open the door at the arrival of his master. His community-level counterpart, the city gatekeeper or watchman, was expected to have a good sight, so that he could see from afar any threat to the security of the citizens. And whenever he sensed a threat, the watchman promptly raised an alarm. In addition, the watchman often had a weapon for the purpose of defense.

As Christians, we are the doorkeepers of the house of the Lord. Like a good doorkeeper of old who stayed awake throughout the period of his duty, we are to be watchful until the Lord returns again. Until the Lord’s second or ultimate coming in glory, however, he visits us every day in many different ways. We, therefore, have to be vigilant to recognize his daily ‘arrivals’ and promptly open the doors of our hearts, minds and souls to him. He comes to us in the sacraments to give us his graces, in his Word to enlighten us, in others to admonish us, in the poor to show us the sure path to heaven, in times of sickness or trouble to remind us that the sojourn in this world is short, so we should seek first his kingdom and righteousness, etc. May we always be as prompt as the good doorkeeper in any way and at any time that the Lord may come to us.

Like the watchman of old, we are expected to have good sights, so that we would see from afar any threat to the security of the household of the Lord. In other words, we should detect the works of false prophets and deceptive miracle-workers and alert other faithful especially the innocent ones.

Again, like the watchman of old, we are supposed to keep spiritual weapons for the defense of the household of the Lord. In the Letter to the Ephesians, we find some of the weapons we have to employ for our spiritual warfare:

“Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:13-18, RSVCE). Thus, some of the weapons we have to employ are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God as well as prayer.

Finally, therefore, may the Lord grant us the grace to be good spiritual doorkeepers/
watchmen who promptly welcome Him on His daily ‘arrivals’, while detecting the works of false prophets, and alerting others of such evils, whereas keeping the spiritual weapons of truth, righteousness, peacemaking, faith, the Word of God, prayer, among others, until the Lord’s final coming. Amen!

By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis

catholicforlife.com/year-b-homily-for-the-1st-sunday-of-advent-3-2/

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Fr. Mike Lagrimas

2020 Fr. Mike’s Homilies

1st Sunday of Advent

November 29, 2020

Awake and Ready

Mk. 13:33-37

If the Weather Channel would inform us that there would be a super typhoon that will hit our city next week, we will surely take all the necessary precautions immediately. One warning is enough for us to do something to prepare for the calamity. When we buy groceries, we always look for warning signs on the label: cholesterol, fats, MSG, and sodium and sugar contents. We take these warnings seriously.

More than 2000 years ago, Jesus told us that He will come back, and He gave us the warning to be on guard at all times. But His warning goes unheeded. In the Gospel today, Jesus repeats this warning: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come!” (Mk 13:33). We may not be able to see the Last Day in our lifetime. But one thing is certain: we will all die and face God in judgment.

This Sunday we begin the Season of Advent. It is a season in which we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, the coming of Jesus in history. We look back at that event in Bethlehem, the beginning of our redemption. It is a season of looking back.

But Advent is also a season of looking forward. It looks forward to the second coming of Christ at the end of time. This is what we profess in our Creed: “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” So, Jesus warns us this Sunday to be always awake, ready and on guard, for we cannot know when it will come.

How do we prepare? How do we become alert? In the Gospel, Jesus uses the image of a master leaving the house and entrusting everything to the care of the servants. “He leaves home, and places his servants in charge, each with his work and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.” (Mk 13:35). In other words, the best preparation is to do our tasks and fulfill our obligations faithfully, not in the future, but now, for we do not know the exact time. And Jesus gives this warning: “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.” (Mk 13:36).

In my previous parish, there was a security guard of a nearby bank who died. He was on night duty. According to the investigation, he had “bangungot” or nightmare. In other words, he must have died while sleeping. Clearly, then, he was sleeping while on duty. I am sure nobody wants to hire a sleeping guard.

Charles Lindberg crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a solo and nonstop flight in 1927 from New York to Paris in 33 hours and 30 minutes. To get himself ready for the ordeal, he often refused to go to sleep for several nights. When asked why, he replied, “Just practicing to stay awake all night.” This is the attitude that the season of Advent would like us to have.

There is nothing wrong with sleeping. Everybody needs to sleep. It is a legitimate human need. Yet there are times when we need to keep awake in order to fulfill our duties. Sometimes we forgo sleeping altogether to finish a job. And most importantly, we have to sacrifice some sleeping time to be with the Lord in prayer. It was the earnest appeal of Jesus to His followers while in Gethsemane: “When he returned to his disciples, He found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Mt 26:40-41).

It is said that “Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is but a dream. Now is the only time on which eternity depends.” Our future eternal destiny depends totally on the now, on how we make use of the opportunities of the present time. The faithful servants, who were doing their job when the master returns, will surely receive a reward. But the servants who were found asleep and not doing their duties will be punished.

In what does our preparation consist of? The first is self-examination. What is our present condition? The prophet Isaiah in the first reading helps us find the right words: “We have all become like something unclean, all our just deeds are like polluted rags; We have all withered like leaves, and our crimes carry us away like the wind.” (Is 64:5).

After acknowledging our sinfulness, the next step is to make a firm resolution to turn a new leaf. That is why the liturgical color of the Advent Season is violet, a symbol of penance and repentance. Once and for all we decide to reject sin totally and definitively, then follow Christ more closely. And that decision is now. As Thomas Merton said, now should be “the beginning of the end in us of all that is not Christ.” Definitely, the sacrament of Confession is in order during this season of Advent.

And finally, we turn to God and ask for divine assistance in our struggle to remain with Him all the time. Herein lies the importance of spending a little more time in prayer: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, gives us the firm assurance: “I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus [Christ]. (1Cor 1:4-8).

Let us make this year’s Advent season truly fruitful. Let us prepare for Christmas. But let us have sincere and serious preparation for that inevitable moment when we will come to face God at the end of time or at the end of our life in this world. May He find us awake, alert and ready to meet Him with joy now and for always. Amen!

Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish

Diocese of Novaliches

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

2020 HOW TO WAIT AND WATCH REFLECTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR B) Rev. Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

Posted on November 27, 2020 by frbonnie

The story of the Chinese bamboo trees would be immensely helpful for our reflection. Once upon a time, a farmer heard about Chinese bamboos and how they could make anyone rich. So, selling some of his properties, he went in search of the seeds. He found a seller in a distant town. After the transaction, the seller leaves the farmer these words before: “always water, wait, and watch!”

The farmer was delighted to tell his family and friends about the bamboo seeds when he returned. He shared how he would soon become rich when the seeds germinate and grow into tall bamboo trees. Everyone was happy for him and looked out for the magic.

Every day, the farmer goes to the farm watering the seeds. He did that for an entire year, but there was no sign of sprouting. He thought about it, but he remembered the seller’s words, “always water, wait, and watch!”

For the second and third year, there were no signs. The farmer’s family and friend became disappointed in him as he would still go out every day to water the seeds even when he could not see any sign. The fourth year was the same. But in the fifth year, something happened! He noticed some sprouting around the field.

In the following weeks, the stems were coming up in geometric proportions, and in just six weeks, there were bamboo trees everywhere towering up to ninety feet in height. It was then that the farmer realized that for all the five years he was watering the seeds, the roots were developing underground, and when they were strong enough, the bamboos sprouted and bloomed. The seller’s instruction worked: “always water, wait, and watch.”

Today, we enter the Advent period and a new trimester in the Church’s liturgical calendar. The Advent is a period of waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of the Lord we await is symbolic because he would be born in our hearts (the new Bethlehem). Furthermore, we also await his Second coming, which would be at an unnamed time and season.

We are in the season of watering, waiting, and watching and the readings today give us those indications. The Book of Isaiah (63:16b-17,19b; 64:2-7) describes the people’s intense longing for the intervention of God, who is referred to as Lord, Father, and Redeemer. St. Paul in First Corinthians (1:3-9) tells his listeners to wait for our Lord Jesus Christ’s revelation. Finally, the Gospel (Mark 13:33-37) takes up the theme of watchfulness or alertness.

The Principles of Watering, Waiting and Watching for the Lord

Watering involves praying. Notice that it is difficult for living things to survive without water. What water is to life is what prayer is to the Christian life. Any Christian that does not pray is like a fish that cannot swim.

Waiting is not something most people like to do, but life comes with waiting. It could be painful to wait and more painful to wait for something you cannot see or feel. Imagine the frustration that could have overwhelmed the farmer as he waited five whole years to see the first sign of sprouting from the seeds he planted.

Most people feel frustrated, disappointed while waiting on God. It could be your story too. Often, we think that God is too busy to attend to us. Sometimes we even assume that God is no longer mindful of us. “I have prayed and waited for a long time, and I cannot continue,” some people often say. It takes faith to wait. Faith helps us to be trustful and hopeful without searching for a sign or evidence while doing so (Hebrew 11:1).

Watering and waiting without being watchful defeats the whole purpose of our relationship with God. Being watchful requires patience. It takes patience to keep alert and watch even when there are no positive signs, like in the farmer’s case in our opening story.

The Obstacle to Watering, Waiting and Watching

The major obstacle that hinders our disposition to watering, waiting, and watching is the misfortune of distraction.Anything that takes your attention from a desirable goal or value is a distraction. Distraction often starts from ourselves. We can become a distraction to ourselves through our choices and the things we allow into our lives. Family and friends could also become objects of distraction and other things around us that may be helpful in some material ways.

Your distraction might be during your prayer times when your mind begins to run around the entire world instead of focusing on God. Your distraction may be distrust and hopelessness when you ought to be trustful and hope on God. Your distraction may be impatience when you need to rely on God’s timing.

Moving Forward!

Often, some people wonder why they should wait on God. It could be your burden too. We should wait on God because God’s worth the wait. Next, we stand to gain when we wait on the Lord. Isaiah says that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). So, waiting on the Lord revitalizes and renews us.

Furthermore, we ought to wait for the Lord because He is bringing something bigger and better. I would not know exactly where you are now in your life; maybe you are fed with your current situation, and you want to quit. Please, before you log out, try to look up!

There is power in watering, waiting, and watching. St. James (5:7) tells us to be patient until the coming of the Lord just as the farmer waits for the crops to receive the early and latter rains to germinate and flourish. This is the same way you will thrive if you would keep watering, waiting, and watching.

God bless you; have a blessed weekend and a joyful week ahead. Fr. Bonnie.

frbonnie.com/2020/11/27/how-to-wait-and-watch-reflection-for-the-first-sunday-of-advent-year-b-rev-fr-bonnie-nkem-anusiem-ph-d/

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First Sunday of Advent (Cycle B)

Is. 63:16b-17; 1Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Fr. Benny Tuazon

2020 Fr. Benny Tuazon

(Mk. 13:33-37) First Sunday of Advent 2020

In today’s Gospel, the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus reiterates His message mentioned in the past few days; Watch! Be alert! Be prepared! The master will come at an unexpected time! As we light the first vigil candle of Advent, we shift to a more serious mode in our Christian life. Somebody and something is coming. Jesus is coming and He will bring us judgment and salvation. We must be ready to welcome them.

Advent, which comprises of four Sundays, is a spiritual event. It is a preparation of oneself for the coming of the Lord. We can enumerate or differentiate three comings. The first is actually a remembrance of what happened thousands of years ago when the Son of God first came to the earth by being born of the Virgin Mary. Thet was the first Christmas. It is a remembering. The second is the coming of the Lord, as promised, in the end time when all will face judgment. It is an anticipation. The third is the everyday coming of the Lord through His presence and the graces we receive. It is a celebration.

If Advent is a spiritual event, then, the preparation must also be spiritual. Unfortunately, these days before Christmas, even with the pandemic, are being spent in shopping, virtual parties, and other materially related activities and things. We make a lot of colorful, attractive, and festive decorations. We are concerned more about bonuses, gifts, dresses, accessories, relationships, and other worldly concerns and joys. This is very different from what St. Paul in the 2nd reading says: “so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7). Not that they are wrong or should not be done. They should find meaning and purpose from our hearts. They must reflect what we feel and intend. They must be expressions of our love and faith in God.

As the song goes, Christmas should be a time “you wish you could give more than just present from the store. Why don’t you give love on Christmas day? Even the man who has everything would be so happy if you will bring him love on Christmas day!” Also hope, joy, faith, forgiveness, healing, wisdom, etc. These are what matters during the season. These are what we have to check in ourselves to see whether we are abreast with the Christmas essence.

Jesus gives the analogy of a master who went abroad and left his servants to take charge of the responsibilities left to them and for the gatekeeper to be on guard.When the master comes back, he will ask his servants to account for what they had done while he was away. In the same way, we have been left with a lot of gifts. We are expected to account for those gifts not in silver or gold or achievements of power. Spiritual gifts are what will be expected, thus, spiritual gifts are what we must store.

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