Advent Reflection – 1 December – The First Sunday of Advent, Year A –
Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122:1-9, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44
“So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”
St Bernard (1091-1153)
Doctor of the Church
Sermons 4 and 5 for Advent
“It is only right, my brothers, to celebrate our Lord’s coming with all possible devotion, so greatly does His comfort gladden us… and His love burn within us. But do not just think about His first coming when He came “to seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10), think, too, of that other coming when He will come to take us with Him. I should like to see you constantly occupied in meditating on these two comings… “resting among the sheepfolds” (Ps 68:14), for they are the two arms of the Bridegroom in which the Bride of the Song of Songs took her rest: “His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me” (2:6)…
But there is a third coming between the two to which I have just referred and those who know of it, can rest in it for their greater happiness. The other two are visible but this one is not. In the first, “ the Lord has appeared on earth and has spoken to us” (Bar 3:38)… in the last, “all mankind shall see the salvation of God” (Lk 3:6; Is 40:5)… But the one that comes between them is secret, it is that in which the elect alone see the SavioUr within themselves and their souls find salvation.
In His first coming, Christ came in our flesh and in our weakness; in His coming in the midst of time, He comes in Spirit and power; in His final coming, He will come in His glory and majesty. But it is by the strength of the virtues, that we attain to glory, as it is written: “The Lord, the king of armies, he is the king of glory” (Ps 24:10) and, in the same book: “That I may see your power and your glory” (Ps 63:3). And so the second coming is like a road leading from the first to the last. In the first, Christ has been our redemption, in the last, He will appear as our life, in His coming between, He is our rest and our consolation.”
Prayer for the Advent Wreath
Lord, our God,
we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ,
for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us.
He is the Saviour of us all.
let Your blessing come upon us
as we light the first (purple) candle of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise of salvation.
May He come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
We light a advent candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark. But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master. The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:
See! The ruler of the earth shall come,
the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.
We must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle. We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten – doing all these works hastens His coming.