Liturgy of the Sunday
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Liturgy of the Sunday

First Sunday of Advent
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, a sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary in India and Japan.
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Liturgy of the Sunday
Sunday, December 3

First Sunday of Advent
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, a sixteenth-century Jesuit missionary in India and Japan.

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.


Psalm 80


Let us acclaim the Lord who has freed us from Egypt.

Ring our your joy to God our strength,
shout in triumph to the God of Jacob.

Raise a song and sound the timbrel,
the sweet-sounding harp and the lute,

blow the trumpet at the new moon,
when the moon is full, on our feast.

For this is Israel’s law,
a command of the God of Jacob.

He imposed it as a rule on Joseph,
when he went out against the land of Egypt

A voice I did not know said to me :
‘I freed your shoulder from the burden;

your hands were freed from the load.
You called in distress and I saved you.

I answered, concealed in the storm cloud,
at the waters of Meribah I tested you.

Listen, my people to my warning,
O Israel, if only you would heed!

Let there be no foreign god among you,
no worship of an alien god.

I am the Lord your God,
who brought you from the land of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

But my people did not heed my voice
and Israel would not obey,

so I left them in their stubbornness of heart
to follow their own designs.

O that my people would heed me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!

At once I would subdue their foes,
turn my hand against their enemies.

The Lord’s enemies would cringe at their feet
and their subjection would last for ever.

But Israel I would feed with finest wheat
and fill them with honey from the rock’.

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


With the days of Advent, the Church wants to prepare us to welcome the Lord who is born among men and women. We are so concentrated on ourselves and on our things that we risk not noticing Christmas. Not that of the calendar, but that of the heart. Without Christmas we remain as we are, we continue to revolve around ourselves. Let us make Isaiah's prayer our own: "Why, o Lord, do you make us stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you? Turn back for the sake of your servants... O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!" (Is 63:17, 64:1). And again: "Return for love of your servants!" There is need for Christmas. The whole world needs it: the countries crushed by war, the poor, the weak, the children. The refugees, the imprisoned, the sick, the lonely elderly need it. Those who live in the great peripheries of our cities that have become true deserts of love and life need it. It is easy to lose the sense of expectation when we are caught up in our own "I."
The Advent season makes us lift up our eyes and open our hearts to the expectation of the Lord: "beware, keep alert, for you do not know when the tile will come" (13:33). Jesus asks us to be like a doorman who keeps watch all night so that it does not happen that the master returns, knocks on the door and the doorman sleeps. Even if it is night - the night of so many sad situations in the world - the doorman must keep watch and open as soon as the master knocks: it may happen in the evening or at midnight or at cockcrow or in the morning. It is a singular, but clear simile. It is easy to fall asleep in the sweet warmth of thinking we are all right because we have already done so much; just as it is easy to be surprised by the somewhat sad sleep of pessimism; by that idleness for which nothing is worth doing; or even by the restless, always unsatisfied sleep of self-assertion. The Word of God wakes us up. That is why in this time we must listen to it every day. And particularly in the Sunday liturgy.
The Word keeps us awake - like the doorkeeper in the Gospel - so that we immediately open the door - the door of the heart, but not only that - when the Lord knocks: it may be a brother, a sister, a poor person, a stranger, a friend in need who may also be importunate. Each time it is the Lord himself who knocks. The disciple's vigilance, therefore, is not an active vigil, but a welcoming as a way of life.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say. So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9: 3-7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!