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Sunday, November 27, 2005

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First Sunday of Advent

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

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"if it takes forever, i will wait for you"

"Be constantly on the watch!" —Mark 13:33

We begin a new Church year and Advent with Jesus commanding us to watch vigilantly for His Christmas coming and His final coming. Chances are that Jesus' message will go largely unheeded in a culture which has generally displaced even the name of His birthday, "Christmas," with the politically correct "holidays."

Vigilance and waiting come naturally to those in love (see Sg 3:1-3). The loving father of the prodigal son waited and watched for a long time for his boy's return. So vigilant was his watching that he was able to spot his son "while he was still a long way off" (Lk 15:20). "Jacob served seven years" to gain the privilege of marrying "Rachel, yet they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her" (Gn 29:20). Simeon loved God and so waited vigilantly in the temple for the appearance of the Infant Jesus (Lk 2:26ff). Jesus, Who is Love (1 Jn 4:8), waited several decades in the obscurity of Nazareth until the right time to begin his public ministry. We'll wait enough for what we love enough.

This Advent, some folks will wait hours in line to buy this year's popular toy. Many children will rise well before dawn on Christmas morning and wait for hours until they can open presents. Parents and children will wait in long lines to visit Santa. Who we wait for says a lot about who we really love. Who will wait for Jesus? Who will love Jesus? We will watch and wait for Jesus if we love Him enough. Ask the Holy Spirit to pour out the love of God in your heart (Rm 5:5). Then "wait for the Lord" (Ps 27:14).

Prayer:  Father, I know there is no limit to love's endurance (1 Cor 13:7). May I love You more deeply each day of Advent.

Promise:  "He will strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus." —1 Cor 1:8

Praise:  Praise Jesus Who waits patiently and humbly under the appearances of bread and wine.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 21, 2005

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