03 Dec 2023 – 1st Sunday in Advent, B

03 Dec 2023 – 1st Sunday in Advent, B

1st Reading: Isaiah 63:16-17, 64:1-8

The prophet admits his people’s sinfulness but recalls God’s mercy too

For you are our father,
though Abraham does not know us
and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O Lord, are our father;
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
Why, O Lord, do you make us stray from your ways
and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you?
Turn back for the sake of your servants,
for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage.
that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence –
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil
– to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Responsorial: Psalm 79: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19

R./: Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help. (R./)

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see,
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted. (R./)

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again:
give us life that we may call upon your name. (R./)


2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

As we await the return of Christ, the grace of God keeps us steadfast

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge-even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you-so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

We do not know the day or hour when the Master will return, to assess us

Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.

Therefore, keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”


Like people at airports

There are various themes to explore as Advent begins. Isaiah calls us to confess our sins and hope for better days. Paul’s thanksgiving to God is upbeat about the future. Jesus warns us against complacency, for the end is coming sooner than we expect. We might go mainly with the first and third readings, about being prepared for the day of the Lord.

Advent invites reassessment of where our ways are leading us. This annual reminder that the world as we know it will one day end, sounds more appropriate in the northern Wintry season, when daylight is short and darkness seems to be winning over the light. But the positive side of this is that a new Spring day is dawning over the horizon, when Christ will come again into our lives with power to save us.

Do you ever watch people at airports, waiting for loved ones to arrive from a flight? They often seem excited, eager for the first appearance of the familiar face, ready with the broad smile of greeting to embrace the returning traveller. We too wait for the Lord’s coming with eagerness, because we long for his presence. The waiting is important because, during our life’s pilgrimage, we are incomplete. As Augustine once said, “You have made us for Yourself, o Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” At some deep level of our personhood we are in need, a need that only God can fill.

This is a time to open our hearts and invite the Lord to bring us to completion. We begin Advent, yearning for his coming. Today’s first reading puts this yearning into an image, that “We have all withered like leaves… blown by the wind.” The whirling, withered leaves of autumn are a familiar scene these past few weeks. Isaiah proposes the dead leaves as symbols of all that is dried up and withered in our lives. But he also calls us to look for a better day. God is still in charge of creation, and our personal lives are under his loving care. We pray this Advent, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and make our own the words of the psalm, “Visit this vine and protect it, the vine your right hand has chosen.” It is a central plank of our faith that the Lord never abandons His people.

Back to the people at airports waiting for loved ones to arrive. It is an alert, active waiting – keeping an eye on the time. In today’s gospel Jesus says, “Be on your guard, stay awake.” He wants us to focus on our task here and now. We are to grow more mature in our relationship with others and with him, paying attention to prayer, and living with his message in our hearts. That’s what waiting for him should be like. And while we wait, we can enjoy his gifts, as promised, for as Paul assures us: “You will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ.”


  1. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key Message:
    Begin with the end (God) in mind!!

    Dr. Steven Covey’s book “Seven habits of highly effective people”, talks about beginning with the end in mind. In the Holy Bible, God our Father promised, “I have prepared a prosperous plan for you to live on earth”. Our Lord Jesus promised, “I will go and prepare a place for you to stay in Heaven so that wherever I am, you may be there too”. God our loving Father and our Lord Jesus, both of them have the plans chartered for our prosperous future in earth and in Heaven. So Heaven and earth is all set ready for us. Our end goals are ready. How do you live keeping the end in mind?

    Our future is not limited by our past but we can limit our future by our own limited thinking:
    None of our past sins can overshadow our bright future, unless we allow it by our own limited thinking. We may think that we cannot live the best life which our God had originally prepared for us, since someone else has messed up our lives or we have messed up our own life. But our Lord Jesus is waiting to change our lives. When our Lord sojourned on the earth, all the people who came to Him were healed, delivered and got a bright future. He is real and is doing the same even now. Once we turn to Him, He will be close to us and guide us on how to change our messed life into a bright one. But people who continually just complain and continually live in their regrets do not aspire towards a bright future. Since we have our Almighty God within us, what is impossible to change in us? The Apostle Paul regretted his sins but He did not allow the regrets of his past life to shadow his future. He simple obeyed God and God guided Him always.
    When the prophet Solomon was mourning for Saul, God asked him, “How long will you mourn for Saul?” and He presented His plan B to Solomon. God’s plan B was the shepherd boy David. God is never without a plan. He has a plan for each one of us and also for your family. We should never think that it is too late for us to reform our lives. In the Old Testament, there was only a stipulated time for mourning when someone died. We cannot waste our life in mourning. There is no use in mourning for something that we cannot change. 

    Our bright future starts at the feet of our Lord Jesus:
    We may think that since we have messed up our past life, we will not have a bright future. But our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary is ever ready to forgive our past sins, and give us a bright future, brighter than it would have ever been. The sinner Mary Magdalene became a preacher of God’s word. People who ignored her because she was a sinner respected her because she became the preacher of God’s word. All that Mary Magdalene did was repent and become close to our Lord Jesus. Always and always there is our precious Lord Jesus hanging on the cross, pouring out His blood to cleanse our sins and pouring out His water for grace, wiping out our tears. Let us closely cling to Him.  

    Are we smart?
    We are smart only when we walk with God. Smartness is walking with God since we will become co-partners with God. When we repent and go to God, He will take His notebook and pen and write a new future for us. He has said, “My thoughts for you are more than the sands of the sea. I plan to prosper you”. When we are close to Him, He will silently work for us. We will not be aware of it. One day it will dawn to us when we see the result of work after a long time. Then we will know why God needed the time. It will be to teach and transform us to handle the blessings in store for us.
    A Catholic family was continually insulted by their neighbours because they were jealous of this family. In a short time this family prospered and built a nice beautiful house with three floors. The neighbours were not able to finance to repair their houses. So they kept complaining about this family all the time and continually screaming at them even for a small inconvenience. When this Catholic family prayed for the neighbours to be blessed gloriously, our Lord Jesus revealed, “You know why I have not blessed them with a good house. It is because they keep continuously torturing you”. So their own jealousy was blocking God from blessing them.     

    Blessing others blesses us:   
    When we bless everyone God will also bless us. This is a great truth which we know but we do not do. This is a secret for success. Jealousy is one of the secrets for failure. Have we seen any character in the Bible who was filled with jealousy but still blessed by God. King Saul was filled with jealousy when David the shepherd boy was praised by the women in his kingdom, “Saul killed thousands but David killed tens of thousands”. Saul chased David and tried to kill him but he lost his life and his throne came to David.  
    One of my relative’s family was suffering financially and had health issues but they continually clung to God. In spite of their difficulties they would always take the initiative to go ahead and help someone. They would think what people around them required and go forward and help them. Everyone who felt uncared for felt at home in their family. They cared for everyone. Over the years the children started their own business and are flourishing financially. They continue to serve God and His people. Blessings others brings blessings to us.

    As our Lord Jesus says in today’s Gospel reading, “Suddenly the master will come”, the end day will come. Then our time will have stopped. We cannot do anything more. We cannot say to the judge, our Lord Jesus, “I do not know what I was doing with my life. I was living in stress just wanting more of worldly things. I did not think that I have to give my time, prayers or finance for others. I did not realize that this day would come”. 

    Let us realize and begin living today keeping the end in mind!!  

    1. Mike Mansour says:

      Well said, wonderful comment on living life together.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.