Sunday 29 November 2020
First Sunday of Advent Year B
“Take heed, watch and pray, for your do not know when the time is” Mk. 13:33
Today, we begin the season of Advent for the coming of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. In today’s liturgy there are many insights into this great mystery of Christ’s coming. First, the scriptures refer to Christ’s coming more in our own life than just at Christmas. This is why in the gospel (Mk. 13:33-37) St. Mark wants us to be always vigilant and be watchful for the day of the Lord, that is, His Second Coming: “Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is.” Mk. 13:33 No one knows when Jesus will come to judge us either at the end of our life at our death or at the end of the world with His Second Coming. Therefore, we must always be ready. Secondly, the apostle St. Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ has come already in His Incarnation, and He has filled us with every grace and virtue possible: “So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 1:7-8 St. Paul reminds us all what it means to have Jesus Christ with us. This is the message of today’s readings: we are to prepare for Christ’s coming at Christmas as a preparation for this coming of Jesus into our lives at death.
Israelites Await the Lord
In the First Reading (Is. 63:16-7, 19; 64: 2-7), the prophet Isaiah awaits the coming of the Lord into the lives of the Israelites who have turned away from God. They have forgotten that God had redeemed them from their enemies, the Egyptians, and so many others in the course of their history. Now they have turned away from God: “Why hast thou made us to err, O Lord, from thy ways: why hast thou hardened our heart, that we should not fear thee? return for the sake of thy servants, the tribes of thy inheritance.” Is. 63:17 The prophet confesses to the Lord that they have all gone astray: “And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Is. 64:6 He knows that the Lord has hidden His face from them because of their guilt: “There is none that calleth upon thy name: that riseth up, and taketh hold of thee: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hand of our iniquity.” Is: 64:7 The prophet Isaiah is hoping that the Lord will show His face again to His people who are now in exile in Babylon. Their situation is certainly much like our own today in our darkened world where we have turned away from God and live as if there were no God.
All Grace in Jesus Christ
Again, St. Paul reminds us of the great blessings of Jesus Christ who has enriched us with the knowledge of His grace: “That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,” I Cor. 15-6 Jesus Christ has given us all the grace we need until the coming of the Lord: “Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor.1:8 We need to prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming at the end of the world. If we live with Christ now, then we will be ready for Him when he comes either at our death and at the end of the world.
“Watch and pray...”
In the today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the parable of “the Absent Master,” who instructed his servant to be ready when he returns. The instruction is for us in today’s world. Jesus has reminded us to be watchful for His coming: “Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is.” Mk. 13:33 Jesus is the absent Master who has left us alone in this world with the instructions to “watch and pray” for His return. He will return at a time when we least expect it: “Watch ye therefore, (for you know not when the lord of the house cometh: at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.” Mk. 13:35 Jesus wants us always to be awake for His coming lest He find us sleeping. People today live as if there were no God at all! They have put all their hope in the false gods of pleasure, comfort and activities.
Be Ready for Christ at Christmas
We who are preparing for this Advent season know differently! We know that today’s parable of “The Absent Master” is very important and that is why the Church wants us to be ready for Christ’s coming at Christmas. To be ready means that we should make sure that our souls are in state of sanctifying grace without any mortal sins. To do this, we need to make a good confession during this Advent season. Then we will have the glory of the Incarnate God within us, about which Isaiah only wonders in today’s Second Reading, enriching us with His divinity on Christmas Day in our Holy Communion: “From the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor perceived with the ears: the eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee.” Is. 64:4