The scripture readings for the First Sunday of Advent (Nov 29, 2015) are identical to those from 2012.Preparations are almost done and family celebration begins at 4:30 PM. Since the lectionary repeats Sunday scripture readings every three years. I'm recycling my refections from 2012.
Happy New (liturgical) Year. The year begins on the First Sunday of Advent (December 2nd). It starts a new cycle of scripture readings. This year the gospel readings will be drawn primarily from Luke.
The season of Advent is a preparation to celebrate the birth of Christ. (Go here for a detailed description of how the scripture readings are organized in the Catholic Lectionary for Mass.)
This Sunday we will hear scriptures looking in two directions. We prepare to celebrate an event which took place in the past - the Birth of Christ. At the same time, we look forward to a second coming. Jeremiah (33:14-16) Promises that
"In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety."
The gospel reading is from Luke 21. Scripture scholars tell us this was written in the context of the Roman destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The language is apocalyptic and frightening - as indeed the destruction was.
While the second coming may not happen in this precise context, we can be sure that it will be dramatic and a surprise. The message for this Sunday is: be awake, prepared, hopeful and a little nervous.