The beginning of a new year often heralds a change in attitude for us. There is something fresh about a new year. It is untainted, full of infinite possibilities, ready for us to put our mark and design on this new canvas. What will the Liturgical Year B hold for each one of us as we embrace this Advent/Christmas Season?
Advent is a time of anticipation, waiting, expectation. It means ‘The Coming.’ “The first Christians began to meditate on the significance of the Saviour’s birth: the dawn of the world’s salvation. It is not surprising that the Church’s meditations on the ‘dawn’ that was the Saviour’s first ‘Coming’ came to be associated with his ‘Second Coming’ when he will inaugurate God’s final kingdom. Our Advent liturgies weave together the themes of these two ‘Comings.’ John Thornhill SM.
In today’s first reading from Isiah notice that the beginning and end of this reading God is addressed as Father. We hear proclaimed ‘O that you would tear the heavens open and come down.’ This seems a desperate cry for those who have turned away from God, for those who have lost the focus of the kingdom. They long for someone to come and save them, and God can do it! From this striking request to come down and be saved, we experience the realisation we are but creatures…’we the clay, you the potter, we are the work of your hand’. What kind of vessel do we imagine God moulding us into as we begin this new year?
Each new Liturgical Year we hear from one the Synoptic Gospel writers. In Year B the Gospel of Mark which is the shortest Gospel is proclaimed. A focal point in his Gospel is the suffering Jesus. The early chapters of Mark’s Gospel deal with Jesus’ identity which develops into the nature of the kingdom of God and the characteristics of genuine discipleship. You may have some time to read and reflect on Mark’s Gospel in its entirety over the Christmas break. I encourage you to do so!
Today’s Gospel Reading urges us ‘to be on our guard, to stay awake to be attentive.’ Perhaps we need to be awakened from the nightmare of believing in ourselves more than believing we are loved by God. God is the one who continues to reach out and come down to us. God is the one who crafts and moulds us. May we be receptive to the working of God in our lives…perhaps we will see infinite possibilities, we will then be truly awake!
Gabriel Williams osu