Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent

From the Catholic Lectionary (I bolded what I liked best)

Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7:

You, LORD, are our father,
our redeemer you are named forever.

Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,
while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.

Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of you in our ways!

Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful;
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags;
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.

There is none who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to cling to you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9:

Brothers and sisters:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mark 13:33-37:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

My thoughts: The day of Christ's return is not a scary threat, a day to be dreaded. In Isaiah, the prophet longs for the Lord to come suddenly, acknowledging that, if he did, he would not find his people doing right or being mindful of his ways. The prophet wants the Lord to manifest his power and majesty and in so doing to rescue his people from their sinful ways. Jesus tells his disciples (that's us) that God has given each of us work to do and we should be found doing it. It's like a surprise inspection in the military, or your boss coming back a day early from vacation, or your parents coming home earlier than they told you when they left you in charge. The apostle Paul praises the Corinthian church for their diligence in God's work and assures them that God will keep them faithful, so that when Christ returns they will not receive reproaches. Our very faithfulness is possible only as a gift from God. He is the potter, we are the clay, the work of his hands; he keeps us firm to the end.

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