November 27, 2016

1st Sun. of Advent

November 27, 2016:  First Sunday of Advent

  • 'Alps' pin:  Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain (1st reading)
  • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  Walk in the light of the Lord! (1st reading); put on the armor of light (2nd reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  We've set feet within your gates (psalm)
  • 'Sword' pin:  "beat swords into plowshares" (1st reading)
  • 'Scales of justice' pin:  judgment (1st reading, psalm)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace (1st reading, psalm)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  It's time to wake from your sleep (2nd reading); If the master knew the hour the thief would come... (gospel)
  • Purple in shirt, tie, suspenders:  Advent season

For Psalm 122
From Ed Bolduc's blog
For next Sunday:  Psalm 72:  Flowing justice, full peace/ Celoni:  sheet music, just written
Pope Francis Angelus
Today's Gospel introduces us to one of the most “evocative” Advent themes:  the Lord's visit to humanity.  Recall his 3 visits:  Incarnation and Birth (past); visits every day (present), 'second' coming in glory to judge the living and the dead (future).  Advent encourages us to reflect on the contrast between our daily routine and the Lord's unexpected coming. 
The Gospel is trying to open our horizons and give meaning to everyday occurrences, not to scare us.  This invites us sobriety, to keep things in their place rather to let them dominate us.  If we let ourselves be overpowered by concern for material things, we won't perceive our final encounter with the Lord.  Advent invites us to vigilance; we must always be ready to depart.  Enlarge the horizons of your heart; let daily life surprise you.  Don't depend on your own securities or plans; the Lord comes when we don’t expect.
    Wordle: Readings 12-1-13
  • Is 2:1-5  Isaiah:  All shall stream toward Lord's mountain, beat swords into plowshares and spears into hooks, not raise the sword or train for war.  Walk in the light of the Lord!
  • Ps 122: 1-9  "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord."  The tribes go to Jerusalem to give thanks.  Pray for peace!
  • Rom 13:11-14  Wake from sleep; salvation is near.  Throw off works of darkness; put on the armor of light, behaving properly.  Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Mt 24:37-44  At the Son of Man's coming, two will be out in the field or grinding; one will be taken, the other left.  Stay awake!  If the master knew when thief would come, he would have stayed awake.  Son of Man will come when you don't expect it.
    • Creighton:  Isaiah’s message, written in the midst of discouragement, calls us to rely on God, not ourselves, for salvation:  to be filled with hope.  Most Advent Masses include a reading from Isaiah.  Today's messages are to hope and to prepare for God.  The first reading is about a future of unity and peace.  No matter where we live, there are divisions and need for healing and reconciliation.  Sometimes we can’t imagine a reason to hope.  Isaiah reminds us our God is faithful, knows about our situation, and moves to bring us together.  Our hope of coming together is fidelity to God.  The closer we come to God, the closer we'll come toward each other.  When this unity comes, "they'll beat their swords into plowshares; they won't train for war again.”  We sing "let us go rejoicing" to this kind of unity and peace; it's a time to “wake from sleep,” to “throw off” things about darkness and “put on the armor of light,” to “put on Christ.”  In the Gospel, Jesus offers us the message:  "Prepare!  Get ready!"  We might not be attentive to signs of hope, to graces offered, to light.  In this Advent may I give myself to opportunities for bridge building, healing, and reconciliation by letting light into dark places:  making gestures of love to a spouse who bugs me, reaching out to those who've disappointed me, whom I might have hurt....  Advent isn't about getting ready to let God come to us, or saving ourselves, but recognizing God already with and in us, caring for us, even when we fail....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "'Mary' Advent and Christmas":  Happy new Church year!  As we prepare for Christ's comings, we believe Jesus comes to us and is born in our lives.  Since Christmas is a spiritual birth, Advent is a spiritual pregnancy.  Since Christmas is about Christ's birth, Advent is a Marian pregnancy.  Mary's visit to Elizabeth was difficult visit because of her physical condition, walking into hill country, and the risk Mary would be killed if Elizabeth considered her an adulteress.  But she went, and Elizabeth and her baby, John, were filled with the Holy Spirit.  Mary endured another difficult journey while pregnant:  to Bethlehem with Joseph to register in the census.  Mary underwent what her Son would call the "cross."  Finally Mary was refused lodging and had to give birth in a stable.  To have a real Christmas, not a spiritual miscarriage, we must take up the crosses Mary bore:  self-sacrifice, submission, and forgiveness. "Mary" Christmas is for those who have a "Mary" Advent.
    • Passionist:  Advent promises change; it opens up the possibility of softening my heart in God's presence.  It creates new visions; it offers the vision of a world where we'll support the crucified of the world.  Advent calls me to stand for justice, stand with immigrants, to stand up for those discriminated against and to the poor.  Advent declares that violence is no answer.  Advent requires change of heart.  Advent is hard work.  Pray that we may open ourselves to real change in our lives, hearts, and especially our actions!
    •  "Watch and be ready; the day of the Lord's coming draws near":  Separation is a consequence of our choices, whether for God or against.  God chose to separate Noah and his family who were faithful to God from those who rejected God.  As God provided a place of refuge for Noah and his family, the Lord provides today a place of refuge in the ark of his people, the body of Christ.  God made a covenant of peace with Noah.  Noah's ark prefigured the new covenant the Jesus would accomplish through his death, resurrection, and outpouring of the Spirit.  Jesus came to fulfill God's promises, including the covenant God made with Noah.  Jesus' first coming set us free gave us life in his Spirit.  The Lord promised to return in glory to complete his work of redemption.  Jesus told his disciples the Father has given him authority to judge.  The "Son of man" is a Messianic title for God's Anointed who will establish a kingdom of justice and peace, given authority to judge and execute justice. When he comes again, everyone will know.
    Jesus used the image of two workers in the field:  one suddenly taken away, the other left.  "Christ shows a judgment is coming, since between two in a field, one is taken up and one left behind.... The faithful will be accepted, the unfaithful abandoned.  When God's wrath rises, the saints will be hidden, but the faithless will be exposed to fire.  The two represent the faithful and the unfaithful, both surprised by the day of the Lord.  One will be taken, the other left...." (Hilary of Poitiers).  The unexpected turn of events is striking:  a summons to appear before the Judge on the day of reckoning. All who had faith receive joy and friendship in his kingdom.  Jesus' story of the thief in the night brings home the necessity for watchfulness.  Lack of vigilance invites disaster. 
    Isaiah spoke of the Day when the Lord would judge and establish peace; the just would come to worship him and dwell with him in peace.  Advent reminds us we're living in the time between Jesus' first and second comings....

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