1st Sunday of Advent Year B
Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 1 Corinthians1:3-9 Mark 13:33-37
Theme: Our Redeemer is Coming!
Today is the beginning of a new liturgical year. It is the 1st Sunday of Advent; year B and the weekday readings will be taking from cycle 1. The season of advent will last for four weeks, and we are to wait and prepare in hope and joyful expectation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In view of this, it is our duty as children of God to prepare in hope and joyful expectation for the coming of the Messiah, by emulating the attitude and way of life of the people of Corinth in today’s second reading. As the liturgical year changes, so also is the gospel reading; now there is a shift from St. Matthew’s gospel we had in Year A to St. Mark’s gospel in Year B.
The season of advent presents us with the opportunity to prepare for Christmas and it also helps us to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time. This shows that our waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ should not end with the celebration of Christmas. It should be a life-long thing that will help us to be vigilant and be always ready, so that the second coming of Christ will not come to us as a thief. This is very important, taking into consideration the assertion in the gospel that no one knows the exact time that it will happen. We are soldiers of Christ and must be always vigilant because we do not know the time or hour it will happen.
In the first reading, we see the prophet Isaiah acknowledging the faithfulness and mercy of God in the lives of his people and praying and begging for God’s intervention in the lives of the Israelites. They just returned from exile and things were no longer the way it was before the exile. The prophet Isaiah was encouraging them through his words and prayers that they must prepare and wait on the Lord. In the same way, we also must prepare and wait on the Lord during this season of advent. The good news is that the Israelites were not disappointed at the end of their wait. In the same way, God will not disappoint all those who prepare and wait in hope for the coming of Jesus Christ.
The Corinthian church in today’s second reading calls us to action. They were preparing and waiting in joyful hope. They did not just relax without doing anything and say they are waiting on the Lord. They were working and waiting in hope. This is very important, because we all have a role to play towards our redemption. The church in Corinth was not just praying; they were also working. The gospel tells us that we must be vigilant, we must watch and pray. To watch means, we must be living lives that are pleasing to God; lives that build on love of God and neighbour. These lives will eventually give glory to God and will help us attain salvation. Therefore, the season of advent could be taking as an invitation for us to be more prayerful and closer to God. It is a period of God’s grace as we prepare for his coming. By implication, our preparation for Christmas must go beyond the usual physical routines to deep spiritual disciplines. Hence, let us resolve this year to make effort to have a better spiritual preparation for Christmas than we have ever had in the past. May this season of advent bring spiritual renewal in our lives. Amen. Peace be with you!