The First Sunday of Advent: November 29, 2020
IT MUST BE GOD’S FAULT (Isaiah 63:16b–17, 19b; 64:2b–7)
It must be God’s fault. That’s the conclusion Isaiah reaches. And who of us hasn’t thought the same? If things don’t go our way, if someone hurts us, if someone leaves us—even if the mess is our own fault—we blame God.
People sin, but Isaiah asks God, “Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways?” People show no remorse, but Isaiah asks God, “Why do you harden our hearts so that we fear you not?” Must be God’s fault.
Isaiah’s prayer opens the season of Advent because of a specific request it makes. “Rend the heavens and come down.” In the midst of our misfortune, sorrow, and sin, when we realize our own strength fails to make life any better, to eliminate hurt, or to erase the past, we finally turn to God for a solution. Let there be no veil concealing heaven from earth. Let God rip it open, come down here, and save us from the messiness of life.
God did just that on the first Christmas Day.
As we stand on the threshold of another Advent, we ask God to do it again. Even if our mess isn’t God’s fault, we need God’s help to set us free.
READY OR NOT (1 Corinthians 1:3–9)
When a new child is born, parents are excited. But they also wonder, “Am I ready for this?” Parenting carries responsibilities. A new child will cause unimaginable changes. There is never enough preparation for parenting. Eventually a parent realizes, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” God usually provides them with the grace, wisdom, and patience they seek. All the spiritual gifts they want are there.
The Christian community at Corinth was like a young family with new children. Having received the gift of faith, this community shared their determination to forge a way of life in union with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an exciting time but also a nervous time. They probably wondered, “Am I ready for this?”
They believed that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. They believed they had to prepare each day to meet Christ whenever he returned. Most important, as they thought about the end, the day of their Lord Jesus Christ, they wondered, “Am I ready for this?”
Paul told them yes. “You are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And neither are we. As we begin this Advent, filled with excitement and nervous about the weeks ahead, it is natural to wonder, “Am I ready?” You are not lacking in any spiritual gift. Open your arms and welcome Christ.
Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year B© 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.