First Sunday of Advent, Year B, 3rd December 2023
‘Stay awake! Be ready!’
As we begin the season of Advent, the readings continue to focus (as in recent weeks) not just on the coming of Christ at the end of time, but also on his coming in our own lives.
The people of Israel, newly returned from exile, find the task of rebuilding their land difficult, and ask God their Father to come and help them. They have done penance, and now trust that he will return (First Reading).
The Psalm continues this theme, appealing to God ‘the shepherd of Israel’ to come to the help of his people.
In the Second Reading, Paul writes to the Corinthians of his gratitude for the graces they have received. Their strong Christian witness and the gifts of the Spirit they have been given will stand them in good stead when the Lord returns on the last day.
In the Gospel Jesus uses images familiar to his audience to warn them to remain alert and awake, as a doorkeeper would. In this way they will not be caught unawares when the Lord comes again.
So we, too, pray to enter this season of Advent trusting that the Lord will come: as he came in history at Christmas; as he comes in our hearts if we keep our door open; and as he will come at the end of time. We pray for all those in the world who are waiting with longing and hope for freedom from oppression and peace.