FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT ‑ CYCLE A
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 2:1‑5 FIRST READING
(“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain.”)
- Who saw something concerning Judah and Jerusalem and whose son was he? Isaiah 2:1
- What will happen to the mountain of the Lord’s house, who will come towards it, and when will this happen? Isaiah 2:2
- What will the people say who come to it? Isaiah 2:3
- Who is to instruct us in his ways, in whose paths are we to walk, and from where will instruction come? Isaiah 2:3
- Where is Zion? 1 Kings 8:1, Joel 4:17, 21
- In days to come, from where will the Word of the Lord come? Isaiah 2:3
- Where does the Word of God come from today? John 1:1,14
- How do we know he is speaking to us if he is not walking and talking with us as he did with the apostles two thousand years ago? John 16:7
- In days to come, how will there be a judgment? And what will end? Isaiah 2:4
- What are we to walk in and who is the light of the world? Isaiah 2:5, John 8:12
Personal – How are you anticipating with joy our Lord’s coming? Do your family and friends know that Jesus will come again? How are you preparing for his coming and how is your family preparing for it?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 13:11‑14 SECOND READING
(“Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”)
- What is the summation of all the commandments? Romans 13:9-10
- When should we wake from sleep? Romans 13:11
- When will our salvation be completed? Revelations 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:2
- What does it mean to “accept the faith? ” Write out the following verses
- What does verse 12 of Romans 13 say about the day and night, what must we cast off and what must we put on? Romans 13:12
- What is the armor of light? (Light representing Jesus, John 8:12) List all of the armor that we are to put on:
- According to Romans how are we to live and how are we not to live? Romans 13:13
Personal ‑ According to verse 13, what is one of the major reasons for divorce today? What is one of the major causes of automobile accidents? What is one of the major causes of abortion today? What is one of the major causes of division in our churches today?
- To put on the Lord Jesus Christ, how must we conduct ourselves? 1 John 2:6
- For what are we not to make provision? Romans 13:14
- How do we not give in to the desires of the flesh? Galatians 5:13
Personal ‑ Do you know Jesus well enough through his Word to walk as he did? In what way can you better learn about him?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 24:37‑44 GOSPEL
(“Stay awake, therefore, you cannot know the day your Lord is coming.”)
- Who is the Son of Man? Matthew 1:18, 23
- What will he repeat? Matthew 24:37, Gen 7:11-23
- What were the people doing in the days before the flood and what did the flood do to them? Matthew 24:38‑39
- What will happen when Jesus comes again? Matthew 24:40‑41
- What must we do, why must we do this, and what must we not allow? Matthew 24:42-43
- Who are the thieves? John 10:1, 8
- What do the thieves come to do? John 10:10
- What must we be before the Son of Man comes? Matthew 24:44
- How can we be best prepared? John 8:31
Personal ‑ In what way are you living according to his teachings? How do you know his teachings?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 122:1‑9
(“We will go up to the house of the Lord.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 122:1‑9.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The emphasis in this passage is peace through obedience to God. This is the only kind of peace that will be permanent. The temple is mentioned, not so much because of its architecture, but because of the presence of God in the Old Testament scripture. The temple was a symbol of religious authority, and all worship was centralized through the temple. The temple was a symbol of God’s holiness, and it was the setting for many of the great visions of the prophets. The temple was a symbol of God’s covenant with Israel.
The temple was a symbol of God’s forgiveness and it prepared the people for the coming of their long-awaited Messiah. The temple was a testimony to human effort and creativity, and finally, above all else, the temple was a place of prayer. Isaiah was prophesying what was going to happen to Jerusalem, and that was that Jerusalem would not only be freed of her bondage, but that she would become a leader to all nations.
The new Jerusalem is a city of God where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain and no more death. Have you ever wondered what heaven will be like? The Holy City, or New Jerusalem is described in scripture (Rev. 21) as a place where God dwells among his people amid the absence of pain, sorrow and death.
This is a tremendous comfort for us, because no matter what we may be going through, it is not the last word. God has written that last chapter and he has promised us that if we believe in his Son (Jesus), we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We are told in this passage that a wonderful day of peace will come when we are taught God’s laws and then obey them. We know that sin causes war, conflict, sickness, and disruption.
We are encouraged to begin to obey God, not in the next world but rather, in today’s world. He has given us his Word for direction and guidance. We will not have to wait until we die to enjoy the benefits of his love, we will begin to enjoy them immediately. We will become changed and that change will affect our family, friends, and fellow co‑workers. We must never forget God made a covenant with us. He will never break his promise, and his promise is to be with us until the end of time. (Matt. 28:20).
In this message, Paul really stresses the urgency of changing our lives before Jesus Christ comes back again. No man knows when God will rise and bid him go. The time grows shorter, for we are every day one day nearer that time. Paul stresses that we too must have all things in our life ready. St Augustine, in his story “Confessions” tells of finding conversion in the last verses of this passage. He wondered how long it was going to take to end his life of sinfulness.
With his Word God had spoken to St. Augustine and he will speak to us if we will let him. We do not search for God; he is already searching for us. God’s Word can always find the human heart, no matter how much darkness surrounds it. Let Jesus come into your heart right now and put on the clothes of light and the armor of right living.
In Roman society, a young man put down the clothes of his childhood and put on the toga, a sign of an adult, with its rights and responsibilities. Paul is saying we have laid aside the clothes of the law and now we are putting on Christ’s clothes of righteousness. We are to do the same, we are to cast off and throw away our rotten garments of sin and put on the clothes of grace. Paul was appealing to the commitment the believers had made in their baptism (2:12). They understood baptism to symbolize the death and burial of the old way of life, followed by resurrection to a new life in Christ. When we think of our old life in sin as being dead, we then have a powerful motive to resist sin in our lives today. Today we must consider ourselves dead and unresponsive to the deadly desires of sins of attitude as well as to sins of the flesh. Attitudes lead to action, just like hatred can lead to murder. Jealousy can lead to fighting, and lust can lead to adultery. We must be ourselves, as clean on the inside as we are on the outside when Christ returns again.
The message in today’s Gospel is to be alert, and be prepared for Jesus’ return to earth. We call this special time Advent as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas Day. As we prepare for this blessed day in our Christian calendar, we need to especially remember that what we are celebrating is the anticipation of Christ coming again on this earth to bring the “Good News” to all who have believed in him. As we are told in today’s passage, we are fortunate not to know when that special day comes because we might become lazy in our work for Christ. Some would probably keep on sinning right up to the end and then try to turn to God in the nick of time.
Our goal in life is not just to get to heaven; we also have a commission (Matt. 28:19) right here on earth. We must continue on in our life, living out the reality of God’s presence until we see the triumphant return of our Savior. Our Lord’s second coming will be instantaneous and there will be no time for last minute repentance or bargaining. The choice we have already made today will determine our destiny. Have you made a choice today to let Jesus Christ become the Lord of your life? In today’s passage, Jesus is not telling us about his return to put fear or doubt in our heart. He is not trying to get us into making all kinds of predictions. He is warning us to be prepared. He is giving us a warning of love, because he wants no man or woman to perish.
The bottom line in today’s message is: Will you be found faithfully doing his work on the day of his return? We have those who say we can work our way to heaven alone, and others who say we need only faith to be saved. A story was told of a man in a rowboat taking passengers from the dock to the waiting ship. He had painted on one oar “Faith” and on the other oar “Works.” When he used only the oar that said “Faith,” the boat went in a circle to the left. When he used only the oar marked “Works,” the boat still went into a circle, only this time to the right. When he used both oars the boat went ahead to its desired goal. Jesus wants us, in faith, to continue our good works until he comes again in glory.
In the first reading, we saw the emphasis being placed on obedience. The second reading stressed the urgency of changing our lives, and the Gospel tells us to be alert and prepared.
This week, be alert and prepared to do battle against temptation and sin by being obedient to those who are placed in authority over us. Therefore, let us curb our tongue when we are in conversations at work, school or in the privacy of our own home. The example you provide will allow your co-workers, classmates and family to see the gifts and fruits of the Spirit in your life.