Reflection: First Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

 Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

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[1st Reading – Is.2:1-5; Ps.121; 2nd Reading – Rom.13:11-14; Gospel – Mt.24:37-44]

Jesus is speaking to his disciples and is telling them about the coming of the Son of Man. He says that the coming of the Son of Man is like what happened on Noah’s Day. During the time of Noah, although the people were told what was going to happen, they ‘ignored’ what they were being told and continued with their ‘normal’ life. When the flood came, they were all swept away, except those who accepted what Noah was saying, in God’s name, and were therefore saved from the floods.

Jesus says that the coming of the Son of Man will be very similar to Noah’s story: everyone knows that he is coming, the Law and the Prophets spoke about his coming, the Apostles spoke about it and Jesus, when he came in flesh and blood, also spoke about his second coming.

The Church chose this text today, the first day of its new liturgical year, because the gospel speaks about the coming of the Son of Man. The Church continues to speak about his coming every year, at the beginning of the liturgical year, and reminds us of him becoming one of us. Yet, Jesus says, and the Church continues to repeat the same, that no one knows the time when Jesus’ return will happen. For this reason one has to be prepared. Jesus tells his disciples to ‘stay awake’ and ‘stand ready’ for the coming of the Son of Man because no one knows the time.

Throughout Advent we will be preparing ourselves to celebrate the memory of the coming of the Lord amongst us through his birth in Bethlehem. In every celebration of the Eucharist, we celebrate his coming amongst us not as a small child anymore, but as our Lord and Saviour. We know that he is with us even though we do not see him. There will be a time where we will have the experience of finding ourselves in front of his ‘pearly gates’ in Heaven where we will see him face to face. No one knows the time when this will happen, and every human being will have to pass through it at some point. It is at this moment that Jesus will come again, not to judge us, but to help us judge ourselves with fairness. Will we be prepared to face the Lord when we meet him again? We have been foretold not only of his coming, but of what will happen if we do not give heed to what he has told us. It is an invitation to stay awake and wait, because he will surely come. Let us not ignore the knowledge of his coming for if we do, we will end up being swept away with the floods, as in Noah’s time.

“Lord, we have heard your word and we have heard what others have said about you. Give us the wisdom to pay attention to all these warnings. Lord, help us to give heed to them as you see fit. Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

 

 

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