“Watch!” The final word of today’s Gospel binds together our readings on this first Sunday of Advent. Isaiah watched for the LORD, antici­pating that one day God would come down from the heavens and rescue the Chosen People. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to be watchful for the day when the Lord would return. Jesus himself compared the Sec­ond Coming to the head of the house returning at a time you least expect. May God’s word remind us to wait watchfully for the Lord​.



There are various themes to explore as Advent begins. Isaiah calls us to confess our sins and hope for better days. Paul’s thanksgiving to God is upbeat about the future. Jesus warns us against complacency, for the end is coming sooner than we expect. We might go mainly with the first and third readings, about being prepared for the day of the Lord.

Advent invites reassessment of where our ways are leading us. This annual reminder that the world as we know it will one day end, sounds more appropriate in the northern Wintry season, when daylight is short, and darkness seems to be winning over the light. But the positive side of this is that a new Spring Day is dawning over the horizon when Christ will come again into our lives with power to save us.

Do you ever watch people at airports, waiting for loved ones to arrive from a flight? They often seem excited, eager for the first appearance of the familiar face, ready with the broad smile of greeting to embrace the returning traveler. We too wait for the Lord’s coming with eagerness because we long for his presence. The waiting is important because, during our life’s pilgrimage, we are incomplete. As Augustine once said, “You have made us for Yourself, o Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” At some deep level of our personhood, we are in need, a need that only God can fill.

This is a time to open our hearts and invite the Lord to bring us to completion. We begin Advent, yearning for his coming. Today’s first reading puts this yearning into an image, that “We have all withered like leaves… blown by the wind.” The whirling, withered leaves of autumn are a familiar scene these past few weeks. Isaiah proposes the dead leaves as symbols of all that is dried up and withered in our lives. But he also calls us to look for a better day. God is still in charge of creation, and our personal lives are under his loving care. We pray this Advent, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and make our own the words of the psalm, “Visit this vine and protect it, the vine your right hand has chosen.” It is a central plank of our faith that the Lord never abandons His people.

Back to the people at airports waiting for loved ones to arrive. It is an alert, active waiting – keeping an eye on the time. In today’s gospel Jesus says, “Be on your guard, stay awake.” He wants us to focus on our task here and now. We are to grow more mature in our relationship with others and with him, paying attention to prayer, and living with his message in our hearts. That’s what waiting for him should be like. And while we wait, we can enjoy his gifts, as promised, for as Paul assures us: “You will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

“We do not know the day or hour when the Master will return, to assess us​​​​​.

Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.

Therefore, keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”




 We greatly appreciate your generosity.