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1st Sunday of Advent - A

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Dear sisters and brothers, …

Dear sisters and brothers,

Let us learn what vigilance means in this Season of Advent, in order to have a meaningful celebration of Christmas.

Fr. Cielo

Published in: Spiritual, Travel

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  • 1. Welcome to our Bible Study 1st Sunday of Advent A December 1, 2013 In preparation for this Sunday’s liturgy As aid in focusing our homilies and sharing Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM
  • 2. 1st reading: Isaiah 2,1-5  1 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; 3 many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD! The focus is on Jerusalem.
  • 3. 1st reading: Isaiah 2,1-5 A simple outline! Introduction  1 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. An Invitation to go to Jerusalem  All nations shall stream toward it; 3 many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." Reason for the Invitation  For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. Result: Peace  They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. An invitation  5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
  • 4. Textual Context of Isaiah 2,1-5 Outline of Isaiah 1-39 (Boadt) 1-12 Oracles against Judah most from Isaiah's early years (740-732) 13-23 Oracles against foreign nations, many from his middle years (724-705) 24-27 A "Little Apocalypse" added at a much later date, perhaps in the sixth century 28-33 Oracles from Isaiah's later ministry (705-700) 34-35 A vision of Zion, perhaps a later addition 36-39 Stories of Isaiah's life, some from the Book of Kings (see 2 Kgs 18-19)
  • 5. Jerusalem
  • 6. 1st reading: Isaiah 2,1-5 Introduction  1 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. An Invitation to go to Jerusalem  All nations shall stream toward it; 3 many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." Reason for the Invitation  For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. Result: Peace  They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. An invitation  5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD! Commentary  Isaiah prophesied 200 years before the Babylonian Exile in 586 BC.  He is the Isaiah of Jerusalem (745 BC).    Isaiah is one of the best, if not the best, poets and writers of the Old Testament. The reading focuses on a very important place in the life of the Jewish people: Jerusalem. In v.1, Isaiah has a vision on Judah (province) and Jerusalem (city in Judah).  V.2 indicates the vision of God for the Temple of Jerusalem:  to be on the highest mountain // raised above the hills (exalted, no one can surpass its height nor its prestige)  V.2b indicates all nations (not just the Jews but also the Gentiles) going to it // many peoples shall come v.3 (universality of salvation)
  • 7. 1st reading: Isaiah 2,1-5 Introduction  1 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. An Invitation to go to Jerusalem  All nations shall stream toward it; 3 many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." Reason for the Invitation  For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. Result: Peace  They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. An invitation  5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!     V.3b speaks of an invitation to go to Jerusalem (the Lord’s mountain); to the house …. (Temple) The purpose of going to the Temple:  to be instructed. Instruction is not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. Why the need to be instructed?  to walk in God’s paths (to do what is right and just according to God’s standard)   V.3b is in parallel form: from Zion shall go forth instruction // word of the Lord from Jerusalem. We find instruction (Torah) and/or word of God in Jerusalem = Zion.
  • 8. 1st reading: Isaiah 2,1-5  V.4 talks of God’s power to give judgment. God is in-charge of all. It is presented in parallel form again: judge between nations // impose terms on many peoples. V.4b concretizes the response of the people streaming to Jerusalem to listen to God’s word: Introduction  1 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw  concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills.  An Invitation to go to Jerusalem  All nations shall stream toward it; 3 many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of  They turn the swords into the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." plowshares // spears to pruning hooks. Reason for the Invitation  For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and  They convert machineries of the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 death to machineries of life. He shall judge between the nations, and  No more wars (destruction) but impose terms on many peoples. production of food. Result: Peace  No one will waste time training for  They shall beat their swords into war, but everyone will go to the plowshares and their spears into pruning field to plant and harvest. hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war  V.5 goes back to the Israelites again. (house of Jacob). They are also An invitation invited to do God’s will.  5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
  • 9. Reflections on the 1st reading  Where is our own Jerusalem?         A place to converge with other people. A place to get instructions. A place to be converted, for transformation. For us, Christians and Catholics, the place should be our own churches / parishes. When we go to our churches and be with other Christians, we must set our hearts and minds to listen to the teachings of God, to make peace, and to be productive. We don’t go there as kings and queens, warlords and patrons, imposing our will on others. We fail as Christians when we cause divisions in the Church. We must approach the church with pure hearts.
  • 10. Resp. Ps 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9  R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. 1 I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. 3 Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. 4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. 4 According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.  6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! 7 May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings. 8 Because of my brothers and friends I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 Because of the house of the LORD, our God, I will pray for your good.
  • 11. Resp. Ps 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9  R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. 1 I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. 3 Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. 4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. 4 According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.  6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! 7 May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings. 8 Because of my brothers and friends I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 Because of the house of the LORD, our God, I will pray for your good. Commentary  In v.1, the psalmist rejoices when invited to join a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  In v.2, the psalmist describes the pilgrims and himself as already in Jerusalem. Imagine their joy!  Vv.3-4 describe Jerusalem:    City with compact unity (everything is there) Destination of the 12 tribes of Israel Vv.4-5 tell of the reason for going to Jerusalem:   To give thanks (praise) the Lord To obtain justice. Vv.6-7 invite people to wish Jerusalem well: peace and prosperity; prosperity also to those who love the city.  Vv.8-9 continue the wish for Jerusalem. In the Temple (house of God), the psalmist promises to pray for those who have affection for the holy city. 
  • 12. Reflections on the Psalm        Have you joined a pilgrimage? Lucky are we when we are invited to join people in their journey and we respond. We must consider it a big honor to pray in God’s Temple (now our churches). We pray for peace. We pray that God may spare us and our churches from internal dissension and destruction. As a Church, we are all on a pilgrimage. Are you a churchgoer?
  • 13. 2nd reading: Romans 13,11-14  11 You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; 12 the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness (and) put on the armor of light; 13 let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. The focus is on the time .
  • 14. 2nd reading: Romans 13,11-14 A simple outline! The time of salvation  11 You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; 12 the night is advanced, the day is at hand. The imperatives ( + and -)  Let us then throw off the works of darkness (and) put on the armor of light;  13 let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy.  14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
  • 15. Textual Context of Romans 13,11-14 I. Introduction 1,1-15 II. Part I: Doctrinal section - Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord 1,16—11,36 A. Through the gospel the uprightness of God is revealed as justifying the person of faith. 1,16—4,25 B. The love of God assures salvation to those justified by faith. 5,1—8,39 C. This justification/salvation does not contradict God's prom­ise to Israel of Old. 9,1—11,36 III. Part II: Hortatory section - The demands of upright life in Christ. 12,1—15,13 IV. Conclusion 15,14-33 V. Letter of recommendation for Phoebe (the deaconess) 16,1-23 VI. Doxology 16,25-27
  • 16. 2nd reading: Romans 13,11-14 The time of salvation  11 You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; 12 the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Commentary  The Letter to the Romans is an authentic letter of Paul.  In v.11, time is kairos (favorable time, right time).  So, he urges the Christians to awake from sleep (from sin).  Vv.11-12 also mention the reasons for waking up.   The coming of the Lord is nearer than expected. This time is a time of salvation, time of God’s grace.
  • 17. 2nd reading: Romans 13,11-14   The imperatives ( + and -)      Let us then throw off the works of darkness (and) put on the armor of light; 13 let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.  V.12b contains our proper response in the form of imperatives. Let us throw off works of darkness Let us put on the armor of light Let us conduct ourselves properly… Let us not conduct ourselves in (v.13)  Orgies (excessive eating, carousing, malandi)       Drunkenness (intoxication, paglalasing, intake of alcohol and prohibited drugs) Promiscuity (sex with anyone, maniac, over-indulgent) Licentiousness (sensuality, abuse of freedom, immodest) Rivalry (strife, discord, destructive competition) Jealousy (factionalism, party strife, inggitan) In v.14, Paul says “Yes to Jesus”. Never give the devil a chance.
  • 18. Reflections on the 2nd reading  We, Christians, who wait for the Lord’s coming should spend no time to fool around.  We should concentrate on doing what is good.  We avoid what is evil.  satisfying our appetites for food, for liquor, for sex, for illicit relationships and for too much freedom  Christians should, likewise, avoid rivalries and jealousies, which strain relationships and harmony in the community.  How do you prepare for the Lord’s coming in this season of Advent?
  • 19. Gospel reading: Matthew 24,37-44  37 Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. 39 They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. 42 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 43 Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. 44 So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. The focus is on the coming of the Lord.
  • 20. Gospel reading: Matthew 24,37-44 A simple outline! Similarity between Noah’s Flood and the coming of Jesus  37 Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  38 In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. 39 They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.  So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man.  40 Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. The Challenge  42 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 43 Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.  44 So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
  • 21. Gospel reading: Matthew 24,37-44 Similarity between Noah’s Flood and the coming of Jesus  37 Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  38 In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. 39 They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.  So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man.  40 Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. The Challenge  42 Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 43 Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.  44 So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Commentary  The evangelist of the liturgical year A is Matthew.  Year A begins with the 1st Sunday of Advent.  V.37 compares the coming of Christ to the coming of Noah’s flood. People will be caught unaware.  They are not prepared because of their immoral lives. V.38  Eating and drinking  Marrying and giving in marriage (remember Gen 6,1-4) = titanic lust  Their vices keep them ignorant of the impending disaster. V.39  At Christ’s coming, there will be no flood, but separation. V1.40-41  V.42 expresses the main challenge when Christ comes again.  Vigilance  Staying awake  Be prepared for the surprise.  Christ’s coming is unpredictable. V.44
  • 22. Reflections on the gospel reading      The message is vigilance. Since Christ’s coming is unpredictable, each one should be ready for it. Vigilance consists in living moral lives, life of love and service. It is mastering our urges, carnal desires and violent tendencies. Christians should not die in mortal sin.
  • 23. Tying the 3 readings and the Psalm     The first reading talks about the day when peoples go to Jerusalem for instructions. The psalm talks about going to Jerusalem. The second reading talks about the nearness of time and having the correct / right behavior. The gospel reading talks about the unpredictability of Christ’s coming and, therefore, Christians should be vigilant. The readings propose an appropriate behavior in view of the unpredictable coming of Christ.  Precisely, no one knows the exact time so that each one should behave all the time, not shortly before he comes. 
  • 24. How to develop your homily / sharing  Make a comment first on what this Advent season is all about.  Preparation for a meaningful celebration of the birth of Christ, a preparation for the coming of Christ.  Those who don’t know the meaning of Advent follow the commercialized way of preparing for Christmas.  It is always important to be taught by the Church and Scriptures to make this spiritual Christmas celebration truly meaningful.  The big word in this season is VIGILANCE.
  • 25.  Based on the 1st reading, vigilance means: Listening to the Word of God (to be God’s true student / disciple) Converting weapons of war to farm implements (to be food producer not destroyer). Converting feelings of hostility to feelings of love and forgiveness. Being dialogical, ecumenical and inclusive Thinking universal, embracing everyone.
  • 26.  Based on the 2nd reading, vigilance means: Abandoning vices and excesses Adopting righteous living Living in moderation Fighting against addictions Exercising self-control Living in the Spirit, not in the flesh  It is discerning God’s presence in our midst.
  • 27. Based on the gospel reading, vigilance means:  Being mindful of what will happen  Again, avoiding what the world dictates: Drinking more liquor (drunkenness) Having fun to the max, “It’s holiday season.” Concentrating on the externals: new Christmas lights, more decors, excessive food during Christmas parties. No mass. Christless Christmas.  Not playing games with evil.
  • 28.  In our churches, we avoid over decorating.  Our churches are becoming like malls (with so many Christmas lights and Christmas decors of all kinds).  They distract the solemnity of our liturgical celebrations.  Let us consult the liturgists. They can help us determine what is distasteful and un-liturgical.  Let us not allow the externals to distract us from experiencing what is spiritual.
  • 29.  The eucharist is a celebration in anticipation of the Lord’s coming.  The eucharist prepares us for the Lord’s final coming.  In the eucharist, Jesus comes to us who are prepared to meet him through our conversion.
  • 30. Our Context of Sin and Grace  Sexual misconduct  Immoral, indulgent  Fun houses  Prostitution, white slavery  Domestic violence  Drug pushing, alcoholism  No fear of God’s judgment  Bad company         Vigilance, listening to the Word of God Mindful of Christ’s coming/presence Discerning the will of God Reception of the sacraments Knows how to avoid excesses Moderation Knows his priorities Avoids bad company
  • 31. Suggested Songs O Come Emmanuel Halina, Hesus, Halina