Tuesday 14 November 2017
With the First Sunday of Advent, we start a new liturgical year. Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation. On the surface, we often think of the Advent season as a time the Church uses to prepare us for Christmas; the birth of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ. Scripture tell us that this preparation goes much deeper than celebrating an event that happened 2000 years ago. Advent is more than us getting into the Christmas spirit. It prepares us for seeing and accepting God in our lives and knowing that our ultimate goal and destiny is eternal life in heaven.
This year we are in cycle B, with our gospel readings this year generally being taken from Mark. Mark is the shortest of all the gospels and is thought to have been the first written, sometime in the late 60's AD. The writer most likely resided in Rome or at least wrote to the Christian community in Rome. He may have been a disciple of Peter, and in part, his gospel was inspired by the martyrdom of Peter and the persecution of the Christians at large.
Mark';s gospel is fast paced. His style creates a sense of urgency. Nevertheless, his stories often are presented with a surprising amount of detail. Mark does have a purpose for his composition as he states in his first line, he is presenting the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. He wants his readers and us to trust and believe in Jesus. He wants us to persevere in our faith knowing that Jesus came for our salvation. Mark's gospel does not begin with an infancy narrative or any reference to the birth Jesus, but rather he begins with the introduction of John the Baptist, who is the one preparing the way for the adult Jesus.
At this time of the year our society starts looking towards Christmas with all the festivities of the season. However, our Church and our liturgy take on a different view. Let us try our best to prepare our hearts and minds in these weeks of Advent for seeing and accepting God in our lives.
Wishing you all a Blessed and Graceful Season of Advent.