Marble Surface

November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent B

Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37


When I was a child, most of us were taught how to cross the street by obeying three commands: “Stop, Look, and Listen!” We were being taught to pay attention, don’t rush into danger, be aware of what is going on around us, and use our senses of sight and hearing to make the best choice of whether or not to cross that street. It all comes down to ‘paying attention.’ “And this is what we are addressing on this First Sunday of Advent. It would be difficult to choose a better Gospel for today than the one the Church has given us. Jesus said to His disciples, “Be watchful! Be alert!” This is true for us at any time of the year, and all through our lives. We need to be aware that waiting for Christ’s coming into our lives, and at the end of the world, is part of being a Christian. Jesus tell us to be ‘watchful’ and ‘alert’. What does this mean? First: We have to pay closer attention to our participation in the liturgy; and not let it become routine or careless as we gather as God’s people at the Eucharist. Second: We need to become more attentive to what is going on at the celebration, especially the readings from scripture and the actions of the Mass. Basically, we need to be more ‘watchful’ and ‘alert’. If you think about it, one of the greatest beauties of our faith is that we trust that God is at work in our liturgy, as well as in every aspect of our lives. By celebrating the liturgy over and over again, we might drift into the false notion that we understand it all and know everything about it, that it is the same thing over and over, and find ourselves becoming tired of it. But if we pay more attention, think about what is happening, pray beforehand, listen carefully to the readings, and be grateful to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, things change. Our lives change. New wonders emerge. And so, this is a perfect way to begin Advent: a time of waiting, watching and paying attention to God’s presence. Let us begin together, praying, with our Responsorial psalm: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved!”