First Sunday of Advent

Is 63:16-17 & 64:1 & 3-8; 1 Cor 1: 3-9; Mk 13: 33-37 (Year B)

“I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received. Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit while you are waiting for Our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed, and he will keep you steady and without blame, because by calling you, God has joined you to his Son Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.”

Paul began his letter to the wayward Christian community in Corinth with an affectionate reminder of the many graces that they had already received. As the letter unfolded, he would challenge them with the many ways in which they had fallen short of the bright promise that had been their beginning. We can learn much from Paul at the beginning of Advent.

We too are a people who have received much. Already the Father has joined us to his Son Jesus Christ in baptism and the Eucharist. Like the Corinthians, we have not always lived up to the promise of our beginning. Our past gives us the confidence to believe that we already live in the presence of God. Advent calls for the repentance that opens our lives to the Christ who continues to come with healing and forgiveness.

The prophet Isaiah challenged a lukewarm people whose sense of God’s presence had all but disappeared. “We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind. No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you.”

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