First Sunday of Advent

This week we light one candle for hope, one bright candle for hope, because He brings hope to everyone He comes, He comes. Today we begin a brand new Church year and a new season in the Liturgical Calendar. Advent. Please do not be fooled by what society is telling us that it is Christmas time already, with the Christmas specials, decorations and radio stations switching to Christmas music. We need to get through the waiting part first and then we can celebrate the season of Christmas. Today in our readings we hear from the beginning of the prophet Isaiah,  Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the end of Matthew’s Olivet Discourse.

The reading from Isaiah is from the portion that is widely believed to have been written by the actual prophet. We hear about a vision of the Messianic age that Isaiah had in it he sees all nations living in peace for “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” and not one nation will go to war or even train for war again. There is a whole movement around the world to beat swords into plowshares Mental floss had an interesting article a few year back about this and Esther Augsburger has a famed sculpture Guns into plowshares, which is somewhere in DC.

Turning to Paul he issues two simple requests to the Romans to be watchful and to “put on Christ” This seems like a strange request as Paul is saying that we need to be watchful since Paul seems to be implying that Jesus will be coming again real soon. As we know now Paul was off by a couple thousand years but the second part is the most important request that Paul gives us this week “put on Christ”. This basically means that we need to become more Christ-like in our lives, not just during the day but at night as well. Paul’s letter to the Galatians gives us some guidelines in the sarx (body/flesh)/pneuma (spirit) thing. To the Romans he write that they should not conduct ourselves as in orgies and drunkenness, promiscuity and lust, or rivalry and jealousy this is a do not list to live like Christ.

Arriving at Matthew’s Gospel we are in his fifth discourse. Scholars have noted that The Gospel of Matthew features five separate discourses Jesus telling people something important the most famous discourse is the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s reading we hear from the one that took place on Mount Olivet, the focus of this final one was the End times. This is the one where two people are out in the field and one was taken and one left. We are reminded that we do not know the day or the hour when the Son of God will return so we are told to be patient and wait. Advent is a time of the year where many of us reflect on what all has happened during the previous year and make plans for the upcoming year. I hope that we can make some more room in our lives for prayer and other things that bring us closer to God.