First Sunday of Advent: Year- B
First Reading: Is. 63. 16-17; 64, 1. 3-8: Lord, that you would tear the heavens open and come down.
Second Reading: 1 Cor. 1. 3-9: We are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
The Gospel: Mk. 13: 33-37: Stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming.
The End Time and Its Warning to Believers, Mk 13:28-37
Jesus had just covered the signs of the end time and His return. It stirs hope and gives a picture of the future glory that can be human’s. But one thing is needful: human must turn his/her life over to God or else he/she will be banished from the presence and glory of Christ forever. Jesus gives six critical warning to a person.
1. The signs points to the end- are discernable (v.28-29)
a. Even as a fig tree
b. Even as a cause has its effect
c. Even to the point of becoming immediate-right at hand cf.v.32
2. The events occur rapidly-in one generation (v. 30)
3. The events are surety-irrevocable (v.31)
4. The exact time is unknown-the day and hour (v.32)
5. The need is to be on guard: stay alert (v.33-36)
a. Because time is unknown
b. Because believers are assigned specific responsibilities and work
c. Because Christ is returning unexpectedly-suddenly
d. Because believers can be caught sleeping
6. The warning is to all-watch (v.37): No one is exempt: no believer, no unbeliever. Every person is to be on guard! Be alert (v.33), is to keep watch (v.34), is to therefore keep watch (v.35), is not to be caught sleeping (v.36), is to hear the warning: “What I say to you I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (v.37).
Thought: Four tragic things can happen to a believer while he is waiting for the Lord to return.
1. A believer may fail to wait long enough.
2. A believer may delay or postpone or slack up in his work for the Lord.
3. A believer may think he can go ahead and do what he wishes and cover it with the Lord later.
4. A believer may begin to think like the world.
We are starting today a New Year of Worship. We shall go again through the various times of the Year of the Church:
Ordinary time of the Year.
We do not notice the growth of our children, plants, flowers, trees etc every day. Yet there is a growth and development each moment of our lives.
The church wants us to grow, day after day, year after year and through the various times in the Year of Worship.
We don’t grow by just remembering in the Year of the Church, we can grow spiritually:
By re-living them within us year after year
By really getting ready for the coming of Christ at Advent time
By really having Christ born in our souls at Christmas
By really suffering and dying to sin with Christ during Lent time
By really rising to a new life with the Risen Jesus at Easter
By really receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
By actively and joyfully waiting for the final coming of Christ during the ordinary time of the year.
In a way, Christians ought to live these various times of the year of Worship at one and the same time throughout their life.
We should always be ready to welcome Christ since Christ keeps on coming to us in various ways day after day.
So we must live with Christ, walk with Christ, suffer with Christ, die with Christ and rise with Christ on the last day and every day of our life.
1. The time of Advent:
There are two types of time in Greek: 1. Chronos (calendar time) 2. kairos (the fullness or grace filled time).
The word “Advent” means “coming” –who is coming? Not the historical Jesus as body but the transformed Christ at the last day for judgement.
2. There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ:
We can see God and reach God through Jesus Christ the mediator between God and the people. Jesus saved us by his just living life, dying to sin, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
At the beginning of this season of Advent, we should make our prayer which the Prophet puts in the lips of the people of Israel in today’s first reading:
a. We must acknowledge our own sinfulness
b. We must get convinced that sin is at the root of all our miseries
c. There is nothing in us to make us deserve salvation
d. The sad state to which our sins have reduced us came about because we neglected prayer
e. Fallen as we find ourselves, we are tempted, like the Jews to complain to God
We are wrong. It is not God who abandoned us but we who abandoned God. His invitation to repent during this time of Advent is a fresh proof of his concern for us.
3. Having acknowledged our sins, we should take a second step: confidently ask our redeemer to come to our rescue:
There is no way for a person to go back to God by himself or herself. So we must implore him to come and save us. Isaiah expresses this beautifully when speaking to God on behalf of his people.
Is. 64, 8- “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hands.”
Is. 63, 16- “You, O Lord, our Father; our Redeemer is your ancient name.”
Is. 63, 17- “Return for the sake of your servant, the tribes of your inheritance.”
Is. 64, 1- “Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down.”
4. While waiting for Jesus’ coming, we must praise him for all that he has already done to save us:
5. We must never grow discouraged in our waiting for Christ’s coming:
Paul gives us the reason why: Because God will never fail us. (1 Cor. 1, 8).
6. In our waiting for Christ, we must keep both: Watchful and Active:
This is the message of Mark in the passage of the Gospel we have read. In carrying out our task, Jesus warns us to be watchful, since the devil is at all times trying to convince us that there is yet ample time left in life to prepare for Jesus’ coming. Eg. The parable of the ten virgins.