Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 (with 4)
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”
Good News Reflection:
Today we begin the Season of Advent. This year, as we prepare for Christmas, think about how you like to show your fondness for the special people in your life by choosing gifts that will be meaningful to them. And yet, assuming that you can actually find something (or make something) that will be appreciated, does it always make a difference in the long run?
How many gifts have you given in the past that became mere dust-collectors? Which ones turned out to be truly valuable with a long-lasting impact?
Since Christmas is the celebration of the birthday of Jesus, let’s remember to give him a gift, too. God deserves more gifts than anyone else, but what do you give to someone who already has everything? Or does he?
What gift can you give to Jesus that will have an eternal impact, a gift that no one else can give him, a gift he doesn’t already have? What have you been withholding from him? What talent or activity or ministry or commitment or change in lifestyle?
Here’s a meditation in Virtual Reality you’ll enjoy: “Four Gifts For Jesus“.
This Sunday’s first reading reminds us that God is our Father. The responsorial Psalm asks the Father to help us turn to him. The second reading gives thanks to God for all that he has done for us. So – what gift can you give to God to express your appreciation for what he has given to you?
In the Gospel reading, we’re reminded of the need to prepare – to actually do something that makes a difference – for the coming of Christ. This not only refers to his Second Coming. It’s also about the day when he comes for us as we breathe our last earthly breath. It’s about the way he wants to come to you during this year’s Season of Christmas. And it’s about the way he is coming to you right now, today.
There’s something new that he wants to give you. When he offers it, will he find you doing what’s right (as in the first reading)? Will he find you using your spiritual gifts (as in the second reading)? Will he find you alert and ready to do his bidding (as in the Gospel reading)?
Advent is an opportunity to take notice of the gifts he gives us and for becoming aware of the gifts we can give to him that he doesn’t already have. It should make an eternal difference – for him and for us.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
List the gifts that God has given to you. Write them on a sheet of paper. Then think about how much appreciation you have given to God for the gifts on that list. Do you know how much he appreciates your appreciation?
Questions for Family or Community Faith Sharing:
Name some of the obvious ways that Jesus comes to us today. What are some unexpected ways that Jesus has revealed himself to you? What will you do this Advent to become more aware of Jesus coming to you? How will this make you more ready for Christmas?
My Lord and my God, may my spirit always be attentive to Your Spirit so that the traps of this world do not catch me off guard and keep me away from You. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica