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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

First Sunday of Advent (A)

1st Reading (Isa 2,1-5): This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 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; 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. 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. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Responsorial Psalm: 121
R/. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me, «We will go up to the house of the Lord». And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord.

According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings.

Because of my brothers and friends I will say, «Peace be within you!». Because of the house of the Lord, our God, I will pray for your good.
2nd Reading (Rom 13,11-14a): Brothers and sisters: 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; 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; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
Versicle before the Gospel (Ps 84): Alleluia. Show us Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 24:37-44): Jesus said to his disciples, "For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 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. 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. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 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. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come”

Mons. José Ignacio ALEMANY Grau, Emeritus Bishop of Chachapoyas (Chachapoyas, Peru)

Today, “For as it was in the days of Noah”, people eat, drink, marry and give in marriage (cf. Mt 24:37-38). But there are also, as in patriarch Noah’s day, saints in the same office and in the same place as the others. And one of them will be taken and the other left, because the Just Judge will come.

We must be awake for “only those who are alert are not taken by surprise” (Benedict XVI). We must be prepared with our love enkindled in our heart, as the torch of the wise virgins. This is precisely what it is all about: there will come the time when we will hear: “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” (Mt 25:6), Jesus Christ!

His arrival is always causing joy to those who carry the torch fastened in their heart. His coming is something like the parent who lives in a faraway country and writes his family: —when you least expect it, I will be there. From that day on, all is joy in that home: Our Dad is coming! Our model, the Saints, lived like this, “waiting for the Lord to come.”

During Advent, we learn to await with peace and love, the Lord who is coming. Nothing of the despair and eagerness typifying the nowadays man. Saint Augustine gives us a good recipe to await: “Live your life as you would like your death to be.” If we await with love, God will satiate our heart and our hopes.

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come (cf. Mt 24:42). Clean home, pure heart, thoughts and sentiments in Jesus’ style. Benedict XVI explains: “To watch means to follow the Lord, to choose what He has chosen, to love what He has loved, to conform one's own life to His.” Then the Son of Man will come… and the Father will embrace us for resembling his Son.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Live your life as you would like your death to be.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “‘Watch!’. It is a salutary reminder to us that life does not only have an earthly dimension but reaches towards a ‘beyond’, like a plantlet that sprouts from the ground and opens towards the sky.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The Church, especially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the ‘today’ of her liturgy.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 1.095)

Other comments

"In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking (...). Stay awake"

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, on this Sunday, when we are just entering the time of Advent, we are also starting a new liturgical year. We can use this status as an invitation to refurbish some aspects of our life (spiritual, family, etc.).

In fact, we need to live our life, day by day, with a new rhythm and hope. Thus, we can move the danger of routine and boredom further away. This feeling of permanent renewal is the best way to be alert. Yes, we must be on the alert! It is one of our Lord's messages that He transmits in the words of today's Gospel.

First of all, we need to be alert because the reason for our mortal life is for the preparation of our eternal life. This time of preparation is a gift and a grace from God: He does not want to impose upon us neither His love nor heaven; He wants us free (which is the only way to love). A preparation for which we do not know when it will end: "We announce Christ's advent, and not only one, but also another one, the second one (...), because this present world must eventually terminate" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem). We must, therefore, struggle to keep a hopeful attitude of renewal.

Second, we must be alert because routine and adjustment are not really congenial with love. In today's Gospel the Lord reminds us how in the time of Noah people "were eating and drinking" and "they did not know until the flood came and carried them all away" (Mt 24:38-39). They were "busy in other things" and —we have already said it— our time here must be a time of "betrothal" for our freedom to ripen: the gift that has been granted to us not to get rid of others, but for our deliverance to others.

"For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Mt 24:37). The coming of God is the great event. Let us prepare to welcome Him with devotion: "Lord Jesus, Come!"