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First Sunday of Advent

Sunday, November 27, 2016
"Stay awake" says the Lord at the beginning of Advent. Even though we do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return we are to live in a state of constant preparation, readying ourselves to greet him at the chosen hour.

What does this preparation look like? Well, if we knew a guest was coming to our home we would ask ourselves a variety of questions: Where is he coming from? Will he have eaten? What sort of food does he like? Will he want to go straight to bed or should I prepare entertainment? How long will he be staying? All this is to say that to properly prepare for our guest we must know about them, where they have come from and where they are going.

So it is with Christ. To prepare ourselves to greet him we must reacquaint ourselves with him. This is what Advent is about, it is a time for turning our minds back to the Saviour’s birth but also forward to his return in glory and the Last Judgment.

When we look back to Christ’s birth and earthly mission we remember that he came not as a conqueror but a liberator. A liberator who freed us from sin and called us to Eternal Life through repentance. If we look forward to his second coming we know that he is returning to fulfil the first and to gather up those who have answered his call and sought his gift of fellowship with God. 

Thus through Advent we can prepare ourselves by asking some more simple questions: have I lived according to Christ’s call? Am I repentant for my sins and ready to meet the Lord? If we find ourselves troubled, perhaps considering our response to Christ to have been lukewarm or if we are unsettled by repeated stumbling then we best remind ourselves again of who Christ is and what he does. In the Advent Prose, called the ‘Rorate Caeli’, we are reminded through the words of the prophet Isaiah that God, seeing our sins and failings, is not moved to judgment but mercy: “Fear not my people for I shall save you, for I am your God the Holy One of Israel.” 

If Christ’s call to stay awake makes us remember all the times that we’ve already spent asleep then let us rouse ourselves by recalling the great victory won by our God on the Cross, manifested by his Resurrection and Ascension. If we find we’ve rebuffed him or failed to live up to his promise then repent and pray that he will renew our strength and pull us back up from wherever we have fallen.

The meaning of the Advent season then is simple. It is a time to recommit ourselves to prayer and earnestly ‘work out our salvation in fear and trembling’ knowing that Christ has already won the victory which we long to share.

Br Jordan Scott O.P.

Br Jordan Scott O.P.


David Crookes (Durham) commented on 27-Nov-2016 12:11 PM
Well said Bro Jordan.

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