1st Sunday of Advent (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 1st December: 1st Sunday of Advent (a)
The first reading in this new liturgical year comes from the Prophet Isaiah (2:1-5). He speaks of a time when all the nations will hear the Word of God and be united. In God’s reign, all divisions will be broken down, strife will be healed and harmony will flourish.
The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (13:11-14). The early Christians are reminded to stay focused on the life of the Gospel. Anything that is done in darkness should be left behind – followers of Jesus live in the light. Paul’s wake up call to them applies to us in our time and place.
The Gospel passage is from the Gospel of Matthew (24:37-44). Jesus tells many stories to describe the need to be alert and ready for the coming of the Son of Man.
Monday 2nd December: Advent Weekday.
During Advent weekdays we try to get into the spirit of the people of old, waiting for the expected arrival of the Messiah. The first nine days follow an ancient tradition of using selected extracts from the prophet Isaiah. These are called the ‘O’ antiphons. We look forward with him as he tells of his great vision and the qualities of the Messiah.
The first reading from Isaiah 4:2-6 the prophet preaches to the people that God will protect the remnant that has been faithful to him and live among his people.
The centurion’s faith in the Gospel is remarkable. He is symbolic of the gentiles who will be called by God, for the kingdom is open to all, without any privilege of race or culture.
Tuesday 3rd December: Memorial of St. Francis Xavier.
He was born in Spain, joined the Jesuits and spent every moment of his life trying to convert people to Christ. He was one of seven Jesuit priests sent to India in the 16th century by St. Ignatius. He worked as a missionary in Goa and Japan. He died as he attempted to enter China in 1552 at the age of 46. He is Patron Saint of the Missions.
Wednesday 4th December: Advent Weekday
For Isaiah, the sign of messianic times is that through the Messiah, God will give to his people an abundance of food and drink. The symbolism of the great banquet is used to portray eternal happiness and the blessings which will be part of God’s kingdom. Death will be destroyed forever and every tear will be wiped from every cheek.
Jesus foreshadows the land of plenty when he heals the many sick and feeds the multitude in the desert.
Thursday 5th December: Advent Weekday.
The first reading comes from an insert in Isaiah that was written in a later period. It speaks of God’s judgement and the victory of God over ‘cities’ of sin. Jerusalem, God’s city, God’s community, will stand.
The Gospel reminds us that those who accept the call and the challenge of Jesus’ words by living as his disciples are building on rock. This is true both for the individual disciple and for the community of the Church.
Friday 6th December: Advent Weekday.
In this season of hope, the word of God gives us a vision of hope. Those who believe in God’s presence and action in the world will see salvation. Isaiah makes this promise in the name of God.
In the Gospel, the blind man sees again. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we profess our faith that God, in fact, begins the fulfilment of this promise in Jesus. He has committed himself to the world through Jesus. We need to be healed so that we can accept the message of Christ in all its fullness.
Saturday 7th December: Memorial of St. Ambrose.
He was born of a Roman Christian family around 339 when his father was an official in Gaul. He moved back to Rome and became a lawyer and eventually a consul in the region of Milan. He was named bishop by popular acclamation even though he was still a catechumen. Eight days later he was baptised and, after receiving further instruction, was ordained a Bishop He frequently had to defend the rights and freedom of the Church sometimes even against the emperor. A favourite saying of his was that ‘the emperor is in the church, not over it.’ He was known as ‘an apostle of charity, a reformer of the liturgy a director of souls.’ He died on this date in 397.
you come forth from the most high,
You fill the universe and hold all things together
In a strong and gentle manner.
To teach us the way of truth.