Reflection on Mark 13:24-37 (First Sunday in Advent)

Jesus said, “In those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

In the ancient world, various peoples lit fires to mark the turning of the light into winter’s season and to pray for the return of the light. The church has Christianized that practice in the lighting of the Advent wreath. To us, these candles are signs of the growing light of Christ who is coming again in all fullness into the darkness of our world. Until the dawning of that Great Day, we watch and wait in Holy Spirit for Christ’s coming into the darkness of our world, lighting candles of hope, peace, joy, and love; and remembering the promises of God with prayer.

Let us Pray: Everlasting God, as we come before you at the start of the Season of Advent we ask you to prepare us for the coming, of your son Jesus Christ and to hear us when we pray in faith for the needs of the Church and the world and to thank you for your goodness. Amen.

Today we light the first candle of the Advent wreath. This is the candle of HOPE. With Christians around the world, we use this light to help us prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we receive God’s light as we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.”—Isaiah 9:2

So how does this Gospel lesson fit into the season of Advent? Maybe our tasks this Advent season is to invite people to look for Jesus in those in need around them and to be aware to God’s presence in response to their own needs.” The first Sunday in Advent is the Sunday of HOPE and when we help those around us it gives them hope. It gives them the comfort that there are others who care and are concerned for those suffering. We are at a time that it isn’t difficult to find someone who needs some hope, It can only take a phone call or a card, or a call to ask if they need anything as you go to the store. So this season of Advent invites us to wait patiently for hope, waiting while we act as Jesus would call us to act, longing to know God as fully as we have been known; a chance to love as we have been loved; to experience Jesus Christ as he is, and in so doing, to become like him. We need to be alert, ready, and always prepared for Christ to come unexpectedly like a thief in the night. Let us begin this season of Advent with the feelings of Hope.

Let us pray: Lord as we look to the birth of Jesus, grant that the light of your love for us will help us to become lights in the lives of those around us. Prepare our hearts for the joy and gladness of your coming, for Jesus is our hope. Amen.

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