Sunday, December 3, 2017

December 3 - First Sunday of Advent 2018

1st Sunday of Advent – December 3, 2018

I –Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down.
R –Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
II – We wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A – Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.
G –Be watchful! You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming.

+ We begin again! This is actually “New Year’s Day” in the Church: the beginning of a brand new liturgical year of grace, with twelve months ahead of us to once again behold the great mystery of our faith: the coming as Savior of the very Son of God himself – who became for us Jesus Christ the Lord.

The Advent season is the time to look back into our Jewish history and see the great preparation that God himself made before the actual birth of the Messiah on Christmas Day. This history tells of a people, formed by God to be his family, who found themselves in situations more and more intense and even dangerous – mostly by their constant disobedience to him. God had to rescue this people over and over again; but at the same time they were always longing and yearning for a true and lasting liberator, Messiah, who would free them from all their slaveries and be their leader triumphant against all their enemies.

God had this same desire for them, but with a twist; this Messiah and King would not be of a political bent, as they thought he might be, he would instead inaugurate a spiritual kingdom that would last forever; and the slavery that he would free them from was the most deadly of all: sin – which, unless he had come to forgive it, would have kept them, and everyone else, out of that kingdom forever!

And so, when the time was right – and the hopelessness of this people was immense, and their longing was at the bursting point – “this fullness of time” produced the familiar story that we will hear about in the coming weeks: the arrival of the magnificent Lord of the universe, in the tiny body of a little baby boy! Our God is so powerful that he could do this: out of love for us!

Our readings today are magnificent: this yearning, groveling people know that they are but “bits of clay, and that God is the potter;” and as works of his hands they ask for freedom, mercy and love! And he gives it! The gospel passage encourages us to be watchful and waiting both for the second coming of Jesus, but also in a new way this year: the first. Let our hearts burst with yearning and hoping and crying out to God for his peace and his love: and he will give them – just as though we were there at the stable in Bethlehem. There is reason to have hope - God is faithful to his promises – he is devoted to those who are searching for his face: he will show it to them!

Dear Lord, show us your love; and grant us your salvation!

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