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November 27, 2022–First Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

I tend to agree with singer Andy Williams, the unofficial secular spokesperson for this time of year as “the most wonderful.”  God’s most surprising decision to become one of us in “all things but sin,” indeed doing so as a tiny Child, remains remarkable, memorable, and more than wonderful.  Sometimes I think the main reason for the season gets sadly lost.  By the time the nearly month long round of hustle and bustle comes to an end, the 25th of December itself finds many of us of longing for December 26th.

Yet preparation is so necessary.  Just ask the cooks of the family, and all their helpers, who readied that big Thanksgiving meal we just enjoyed a few days ago. Maybe even sidelined a bit by football.

Consider also the elaborate planning for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in those waning days of Summer last September. That panoply and precision would never have happened without much planning and preparation.

So it is that whole spirit of preparation is what this little season of Advent is all about.  I say “little” because Advent hardly makes a whole month.  God, as it were, “sneaking into our world through the back door.”  Even the Church does not impose on us the penitential demands of the long six weeks of Lent. So we forget about the purple color of Lent asking for some fasting before feasting; some sacrifice before celebration.

The Scriptures today, embracing the thoughts of great Isaiah, powerful St. Paul, and Our Lord Himself, is the Church reminding us of why God came among us in the first place. We collectively had strayed so far from our Creator, and His original perfect plan for our happiness. With our petty egos left unchecked, and self-centeredness hailed as the true way to be, most of mankind by now had come to believe that this life was the only real one. Be advised:  get cozy with your choices.

But God never forgets us. So the wise Mother Church we belong to urges us to work on the preparation of your mind and heart for Christmas. Some quiet Advent contemplation of what God did for us in Christ instead of some TV show.  Some physical fasting.  Perhaps the making of a long-delayed confession. I believe you’ll find that it really is “the most wonderful time of the year” because when it comes, you’ll be ready for it.           

My beloved Dad once worked for the Prudential Insurance Company.  One of their long-lost slogans, current during his long tenure, is so apropos here: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.”

 

Reading I:  Isaiah 2: 1-5
There was a well-known image of the “mountain of God” among the ancient people.  The prophet uses it as the locale of Jerusalem, and from there God will describe the right way of life.  The coming Messiah will usher in a time of justice and peace.

Reading II:  Romans 13: 11-14
Paul exhorts the Roman Christians prior to his being among them that the time is now to live as Christ prescribed, since they are close to the end time.  He writes that “the night is advanced” and now is the time to “throw off the works of darkness,” and put on “the armor of light.”

The Gospel:  Matthew 24: 37-44
Jesus warns His disciples to be prepared for the coming of “the Son of Man,” and not be so absorbed by the tasks of daily living as to forget the inevitable.  His coming will be unexpected, like “a thief in the night.”

 

John Patrick Publishing, Inc., Rev. Leonard N. Peterson. “November 27, 2022 –First Sunday of Advent”.https://www.jppc.net/november-27-2022-first-sunday-of-advent/ (accessed November 30, 2022)