Year B: Year of Mark
First Sunday in Advent
Gospel: Mark 13: 13: 33-37
A new Liturgical Year opens today and we embark on Year B with the evangelist Mark as our guide.
We do not begin at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, however - that will come next week The opening Gospel of the Year is taken from near the end of the Gospel - just before Mark begins the account of Jesus’ passion.
For those who see Advent as a time of preparation leading up to Christmas - and, this year, to the new Millennium - this seems a very odd choice. In fact, it is a powerful reminder of what Christmas actually celebrates - and what the Millennium or Jubilee celebrates - the Coming of God into the world.
Advent comes from a Latin word - advenire - which means to come to... Advent, then is a time to think about “advents” - comings to - and to reflect on three comings-to in particular:
The Coming of God to the world as a human baby
The Coming of God to the world in His glory at the end of time
The Coming of God into the world today.
Marks’ Gospel could be described as the bluntest of the Gospels! He makes his point in straightforward language - “be on your guard” - “stay awake” - “he must not find you asleep”.
This is not a Gospel offering tranquil and comfortable living. This is a Gospel that is urgent - challenging those who admire Jesus and who are impressed by what He says and does to take the extra step - into His footsteps and to follow the way of discipleship.
We do not know where our discipleship will lead - nor when Christ will return. Jesus insists that we must not allow not knowing these things to lull us into a false sense of security.
We are the doorkeepers - the ones left in charge. Our responsibility is to stay awake - even when others seem to be sleeping - so that we are ready to welcome Christ into the world when He comes.
We are also alert to the coming of God into our lives today - in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body - in those in whom Christ is hidden - in the Spirit who is within us...
What does it mean for me?
What does “staying awake” in matters of faith mean to you?
Do you look forward to the Coming of Christ?
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