Liturgy of the Sunday

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First Sunday of Advent
Memory of the blessed Charles of God (Charles de Foucauld), the "universal brother," killed in 1916 in the Algerian desert where he lived in prayer and in fraternity with the Tuareg people.


First Reading

Isaiah 2,1-5

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It will happen in the final days that the mountain of Yahweh's house will rise higher than the mountains and tower above the heights. Then all the nations will stream to it, many peoples will come to it and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths.' For the Law will issue from Zion and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. Then he will judge between the nations and arbitrate between many peoples. They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, no longer will they learn how to make war. House of Jacob, come, let us walk in Yahweh's light.

Psalmody

Psalm 121

Antiphon

Call for peace for Jerusalem.

'I rejoiced when I heard them say :
'Let us go to God's house'.

And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built as a city
strongly compact.

It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord.

For Israel's law it is,
there to praise the Lord's name.

There were set the thrones of Judgement
of the house of David.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray :
'Peace be to your homes!

May peace reign in your walls,
in your palaces, peace!'

For love of my brethren and friends
I say : 'Peace upon you!

For the love of the house of the Lord
I will ask for your good.

Second Reading

Romans 13,11-14a

Besides, you know the time has come; the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe. The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light. Let us live decently, as in the light of day; with no orgies or drunkenness, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop worrying about how your disordered natural inclinations may be fulfilled.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 24,37-44

'As it was in Noah's day, so will it be when the Son of man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept them all away. This is what it will be like when the Son of man comes. Then of two men in the fields, one is taken, one left; of two women grinding at the mill, one is taken, one left. 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

With this first Sunday of Advent begins the new liturgical year, which the Church asks us to live as a spiritual pilgrimage towards the "mountain of the Lord's house," of which the prophet Isaiah speaks. It is not a journey without goal, tossed about by circumstance. Our goal is clearly defined. It is the heavenly Jerusalem. And the Word of God will guide our steps, day after day, Sunday after Sunday. Advent marks these days with a particular grace, because it helps us understand Jesus as "he who comes," he who leaves heaven to come and live with us on earth.
He is the one who comes towards us, more than we go towards him. We are usually so focused on ourselves that we do not notice his coming. This is the reason for the Gospel's warning to be vigilant, "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." Even the Apostle Paul insists, "It is now the moment for you to wake from sleep." And he explains, "Let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy" (13:13). The apostle invites us to be vigilant and to keep working, not to be static, so that our lives can bear fruit during the season that opens before us. Indeed, the season of Advent is a good time for us to start listening to the Word of God again and turn our gaze towards Jesus, who is coming among men and women. This is the second reflection that Word of God offers us. In order to help us understand the urgency of making a decision to turn our eyes towards our goal, Jesus speaks of the last days using the typical language of his time. And indeed, these are the last days for each of us, because they will never come back again. If we do not listen to Jesus' exhortation today, we will miss our chance to hear it. Jesus goes as far as to compare himself to thief who comes unexpectedly: "If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into." These striking words remind us to be vigilant, that is, not to be distracted, resigned, or lazy. Being vigilant means praying, paying attention to the poor, and recognizing the signs of God's presence in the world. All of this purifies the eyes of the heart and mind. It gives us clear eyes that can recognize the signs of his arrival. Advent is truly a good time for us to "wake from sleep," to get up from the comfortable bed of our selfish habits and to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," to put on his feelings, to go out to meet him as he comes to live with us and guide us toward a future of love and peace, knowing that this dream is for all, as the prophet writes, "Many peoples shall come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord'" (Is 2:3).