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The First Sunday of Advent


"Advent is synonymous with hope, not the vain waiting for a faceless god, but concrete and certain trust in the return of Him who has already visited us.” ~ Saint John Paul II

With today’s 1st Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. In what is a paradox that is uniquely Christian, we choose a Gospel Passage on this first day of preparation for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:37-44) which instead foreshadows his return, his second coming This underscores a prevailing Christian theme, that the Kingdom of God is at hand and is to come.

We strive to live our lives in a continual state of grace, to stay awake as today’s recurring scriptural theme urges us to do For as we are reminded in today’s passage, we do not know when our Lord will return. During Advent, the Church calls us to remember both the world’s darkness and Israel’s hope in the midst of it. She does this so our eyes can perceive the true radiance of Christmas Day.

At Mass today, we light the first violet candle on the Advent Wreath. Then, for the next three Sundays, the light coming from that wreath will grow stronger as one more candle is lit each Sunday. Spiritually, this is how the Advent experience unfolds and is meant to be experienced. We are called to enter more deeply into the light of Christ.

As the quote which kicks off today’s reflection indicates, the first Sunday of Advent is all about hope, our hope in the risen Jesus to save us. From sin. From the world. From ourselves. While the rest of the world places its hope in the next clearance sale, the next election, the the next COVID booster, or maybe even the Green Bay Packers to cover the spread in the nightcap, the Christian world looks to the King of Kings

As our church takes up her journey to the manger once again, we are invited to reflect more intensely on the mystery of Christ, a mystery that is always new, one that nothing, not even time, can exhaust. Christ is the Alpha and the Onega, the beginning and the end. To once again quote the great Saint John Paul II, “Thanks to him, the history of humanity proceeds as a pilgrimage towards the fulfillment of the Kingdom which he inaugurated with his Incarnation and victory over sin.”

The incomparable Mother Angelica, who said of this most precious time in the Liturgical year “The whole Advent Season is about merciful love. We look upon God’s infinite mercy and know that he finds joy in coming to us, and that he finds joy in forgiving us.” As our Lord comes to us this Advent Season, may we allow ourselves to be transformed by the hope, joy, and peace they only our Savior can give us. In the words of Saint Bede the Venereble, let us “Unfurl the sales and let God steer us where he will.”

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