Liturgy of the Sunday

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First Sunday of Advent


First Reading

Isaiah 63,16-17.19; 64,2-7

After all, you are our Father. If Abraham will not own us, if Israel will not acknowledge us, you, Yahweh, are our Father, 'Our Redeemer' is your name from of old. Why, Yahweh, do you let us wander from your ways and let our hearts grow too hard to fear you? Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. We have long been like those you do not rule, people who do not bear your name. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down -- in your presence the mountains would quake, at the unexpected miracles you would do. (Oh, that you would come down, in your presence the mountains would quake!) Never has anyone heard, no ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for the sake of those who trust him. You come to meet those who are happy to act uprightly; keeping your ways reminds them of you. Yes, you have been angry and we have been sinners; now we persist in your ways and we shall be saved. We have all been like unclean things and our upright deeds like filthy rags. We wither, all of us, like leaves, and all our misdeeds carry us off like the wind. There is no one to invoke your name, to rouse himself to hold fast to you, for you have hidden your face from us and given us up to the power of our misdeeds. And yet, Yahweh, you are our Father; we the clay and you our potter, all of us are the work of your hands.

Psalmody

Psalm 79

Antiphon

Make your face shine upon us, O Lord, that we may be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
you who lead Joseph's flock,

shine forth from your cherubim throne
upon Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh.

O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, bring us back;
let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Lord of hosts, how long
will you frown on your people's plea?

You have fed them with tears for their bread,
an abundance of tears for their drink.

You have made us the taunt of our neighbours,
our enemies laugh us to scorn.

God of hosts, bring us back;
let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
to plant it you drove out the nations.

Before it you cleared the ground;
it took root and spread through the land.

The mountains were covered with its shadow,
the cedars of God with its boughs.

It stretched out its branches to the sea,
to the Great River it stretched out its shoots.

Then why have you broken down its walls?
It is plucked by all who pass by.

It is ravaged by the boar of the of the forest,
devoured by the beasts of the field.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted.

Men have burnt it with fire and destroyed it.
May they perish at the frown of your face.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again :
give us life that we may call upon your name.

God of hosts, bring us back;
let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1,3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am continually thanking God about you, for the grace of God which you have been given in Christ Jesus; in him you have been richly endowed in every kind of utterance and knowledge; so firmly has witness to Christ taken root in you. And so you are not lacking in any gift as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; he will continue to give you strength till the very end, so that you will be irreproachable on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. You can rely on God, who has called you to be partners with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Mark 13,33-37

'Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from his home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own work to do; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow or dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I am saying to you I say to all: Stay awake!'

 

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

This first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, a time in which the Liturgy takes us by the hand and immerses us in the mystery of Jesus, from his birth to the preaching of the Kingdom in Galilee and Judea to his passion, death, resurrection and ascension to God's heaven. The liturgical year makes us contemporaries of the Lord, until we can say with the apostle "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me."
Advents asks us to raise our eyes up on high and to open our hearts to the Lord who is about to come. The Gospel warns us: "Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come" (Mk 13:33). Jesus compares disciples to door keepers who are alert al night so that they do not miss the moment the master comes back and knocks at the door in order to enter. Even if it is night the door keeper must be vigilant, by the entrance, so that he/she can open as soon as the master knocks. The master may come in the evening or at midnight or rooster crowing or in the morning. It is a singular, but clear similarity. The vigilance to await the Lord must never slacken. We could say that this is the meaning of the Liturgies of this time, of daily listening to the Word of God in these weeks.
To be vigilant means not dispersing behind oneself, following one's own little chores, and even less falling asleep in the sleep of one's own narcissism. The gate keeper stays awake next to the entrance and as soon as he hears the master approaching he/she opens the door, the door of his/her own heart, the door of the community itself to welcome all those who knock to ask for help, comfort, consolation, and support. All those who knock, together with Jesus, are our "masters." This is also the meaning of the words of Revelation: "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me" (Rev 3:20).
Advent invites us to stay awake, not to be surprised by the sweet warmth of those who think they are fine because they have already done a lot; by the somewhat sad sleep of pessimism; by that sloth for which it is not worth doing anything; by the restless and always unsatisfied sleep of the worries and self-affirmation. The Word of God asks to wake from the sleep of the distraction of those who no longer listen, from the sleep of the impatient who wants everything and immediately and does not know how to wait. Being vigilant means listening to the Word of God, being ready to welcome our brothers and sisters, the poor and to say to the Lord: "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, give consolation and peace to this world of ours. Tear open the heavens and open a future for those who are crushed by evil. Free us from the love for ourselves that makes our hearts dormant and us indifferent. Teach us to listen to your voice and recognize you so that we may open the door of the heart to you, you who are a sweet guest, friend of all time, our hope."