First Sunday of Advent (Year A)
Scripture Readings*: Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44, Psalm 122
Isaiah envisions the day when Zion (Jerusalem) will be the place where nations will come and be eager to learn – and walk – in the ways of God. Isaiah’s view of the future is filled with a promise of peace, where the Lord Himself will settle international disputes
Paul challenges us to remember that our “salvation” (the complete blessing we will have when Christ comes – including new bodies and a new home) is closer today than ever before. It’s easy to get lulled into darkness. Paul calls us to be awake and alert and to behave as those who walk in the light of the Gospel so we will not be found in sin when Christ returns.
This passage reminds us that Christ will return. It stresses that only God knows the hour, or the time, of this event. It indicates that the coming of Christ will be sudden, catching people unaware. These verses also remind us that when Jesus returns it will be a time of separation and judgment… a time when he will gather to himself those who are his own.
There’s No Place Like Hope!
Hope. Just say the word and suddenly the world looks a little brighter and trouble feels a little lighter. It was this gift of hope Isaiah gave to God’s people. Through faith’s eyes, he saw the coming of the Messiah and the peace His arrival would bring. By faith, Paul also saw eternal life closer than ever – day-by-day, moment by moment.
It is hope that enables us to see the coming of Christ in our own lives and in the life to come. Sometimes the darkness of our circumstances overwhelms us. But the words of Jesus pierce the darkness of our suffering, causing us to look up. Like children awaking to Christmas morning, Christ comes suddenly, His joy surprising us, His embrace gathering us.
As we await His coming, it is hope that gives voice to faith as we affirm: Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again!
Prayer when lighting the first candle of the Advent wreath – “God of hope, Your light pierces the darkness of my heart and the world. Strengthen me to walk in Your light, casting off the works of darkness. Fill my home and heart with the light of Christ and help me reflect You to a weary world, longing for the thrill of hope. Blessed be God now and forever. Amen.”
*Readings are from the NRSV and the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A