Weekly Preaching


November 29, 2020

Isaiah 63:16b–17, 1 Cor 1:3–9, Mark 13:33–37

Karen Anderson
Karen Anderson

Here we are at the first Sunday of Advent. At Mass the last few Sundays, we left in almost a joyful dance or skip to the song, “Soon and very soon we are going to see the king,” preparing us for the upcoming Advent season. Advent is a time to prepare the way for God to come into our hearts and homes, a time to rekindle the fire of faith, and a time to share our blessings. But the words of Scripture we find for the first Sunday of Advent have a different feel to them—not dancing at all. Jesus is telling us to be watchful and alert, challenging us to the task, to be ready, to be on guard . . . a firm command NOT to let the glitter and excitement around Christmas get in the way of the message of Advent. A firm command because it's easy to become complacent about the needs of others and accept injustice. A firm command because it's easy to become weary. A firm command because we need to be ready.

Yes, Advent should be a time of joy and hope, a time to refuel and energize and celebrate: we all need that. But we can’t let our guard down on what we are all challenged to do and be: Christ to those in our community. We are invited to be alert to those who struggle and see their needs for food, housing, employment, and care. By doing so we make ourselves ready.

When I first read this Gospel, a childhood memory came to my mind. One set of grandparents lived a bit more than an hour away from us, and when they visited it was a big deal at our house. We would watch out the window at the big hill that led into town. We were giddy, anticipating the opportunity to spend time with them. Just as my grandparents' arrival, so also is Advent’s arrival a big deal.

As we begin this Advent season, challenged to be watchful, may we also know the rewards of sharing our blessings and compassion with others.

“Soon and very soon, we are going to see the king!” 

by Karen Anderson, Associate