ADVENT 2017: A reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, 3 December

by Judy Coode
Project Coordinator, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 | Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 | 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 | Mark 13:33-37

“… No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! [But] all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves … [You] have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. …”

Our season of waiting and watching starts with a pain-filled lament, a self-recriminating plea for mercy, a cry for reconciliation. The readings today remind us that it is time to reflect, and to remember that, one day, the sense that God is present will return to us.

Our faith tells us that God never leaves us, but our human sides make it easy to forget this, or to disbelieve it. We look at the terrible conflicts around the world, the power of war-makers, the ugliness towards others borne of greed and fear, and we cry because God’s face is hidden – will it ever return? – and we feel we have not done enough to stop the awful actions that swarm around us.

But we know the light has really never been extinguished. We wait these few weeks in December and light our purple and pink candles and wait for Mary’s baby boy to arrive, but we also watch our friends and colleagues continue to do what they can: shelter those who need protection, feed those who are hungry, comfort those who mourn, and remind everyone around us, especially those in power, that our Creator is with us and will always hold us close.

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