1st Sunday of Advent

1st Sunday of Advent

Daughters of Mary
November 22, 2016
Commentary – Matthew 24:37-44
Written and Presented by Cissy Helms

Matthew’s account of our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection begins in Chapter 26.
So we are nearing the end of Jesus’ life on earth in this gospel. Matthew is describing events and parables told to the crowds and disciples to help them grasp the true meaning of Jesus’ ministry. Which is to be faithful to God; not worshiping idols. To follow the commandments and practice the beatitudes. Loving, forgiving, and caring for each other as Christ cares for us.

In earlier verses of Matthew Chapter 24 Jesus speaks of the end times and is questioned by the disciples as to the meaning of
when will he come again?
what signs will there be of His coming?
when is the end of the age?

Jesus tells the disciples a time of great tribulation will come:
He describes false prophets. Persons will rise up claiming to be the Messiah.
They will even perform signs and wonders that will deceive some of the elect.
He tells them nation will rise against nation
He tells them of the day and hour no one knows.
Neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father alone.

Our gospel reading today relates Jesus saying, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.” Jesus then says, “So it will be also at the coming of the Son of Man.” In the next verse, “Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.”

What is Jesus really saying?

Jesus is describing a separation. There was a separation which occurred at the time of Noah. People all around Noah and his family were leading their lives. Doing all the things we do. But we know they were ridiculing and and making fun of Noah while he was building the ark. The bible tells us, “In the eyes of God the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness” (Gen 6:1).

Noah was a good man. He listened and did as he was told by God. God instructed him in the building of the ark. Later, God tells Noah to take his family and gather all the animals into the ark. God closes them in the ark. Then the rain came and carried them all away. The inhabitants on the ark were safe. Those remaining lost their lives. They drowned. This was a separation of good from the bad.

Jesus is telling us Stay awake! (Matt 24:42) and Be prepared! (Matt 24:44)
The gospel reading reminds us of the abrupt and frightening devastation of the flood. The reading reinforces what faith, hope, and charity Noah and his family possessed. Let us take each day as an opportunity to choose to grow in the love of God. Try to remember that you are the conduit or channel through which the Holy Spirit brings graces to others in our world.

How will you choose to Stay Awake and Be Prepared?

Our Catechism of the Catholic Church (524) tells us when the church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present the ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.

One way to prepare for Advent is a tradition dating from the 1500’s. It is the Advent wreath. There are several facets to the traditional wreath I would
like you to consider:

Material Fresh greens. Signify Christ is coming to give me new life
through his passion, death, and resurrection.

Shape A circle. This shows no beginning or ending. It helps me visualize
the eternity of God’s plan of salvation and how I want to share
eternal life with God.

Candle Inserted into the evergreen circle are candles. Three are purple in
color. Meaning our penance, preparation, and sacrifice in this
season. In the very early church, Baptisms were done on the
Feast of the Epiphany. One rose colored candle indicates our
anticipation for the Messiah is at a halfway point.

Light Represents Christ who enters our world to scatter the darkness
of evil. He is our Light in the darkness. As Isaiah says in the
first reading of the liturgy for the First Sunday of Advent, “O
house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the Light of the Lord!” (Is 2:5)

The apocalyptic nature of this liturgy keeps us aware of the generations before us who with faith, hope, and charity anticipated the coming of the Messiah. Let us not be frightened or worried by these texts. Let us use the sounds, colors, and traditions of this beautiful season to help us appreciate God’s gift of himself to us.

I will close with the Collect from mass on the First Sunday of Advent:
Grant your faithful, we pray, Almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.

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