Reflection of the 1st Sunday of Advent Cycle B

          Today, the first Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, a year of grace in the Lord. It can indeed be a new beginning in our journey with Jesus. The year will unfold for us the mysteries of Christ’s life, ministry, suffering, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into glory. Our journey this year with Jesus can be an occasion for each of us to deepen our participation in the mystery of his dying and rising. Our experience will not be the same as previous years, even though the stories about Jesus may be familiar. New personal insights and a fuller knowledge of God’s work in our lives can be ours if we are willing to walk with Jesus once again, following him as did his disciples.        In today’s gospel reading Jesus gives his disciples strong advice:” B watchful! Be alert!” Jesus shared with them God’s plan and what was to come at the end of the world. Jesus uses the parable of the man on a journey who ” places his servants in charge, each with his own work ” to designate the place of the disciples in God’s plan. Do we, too, recognize that we are each given a task to carry out while the master is away? The  opening Prayer  for today’s liturgy speaks of the task in these words, ” Increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming.” Yes, do good ! If we all took this task seriously the world would be free of war, poverty, injustice, oppression, hatred, and all other evils.         The beginning of today’s first reading acknowledges God as a Redeemer and Father forever. In spite the people are are sinful and their hearts have hardened to the ways of the Lord. Isaiah described the people as unclean, polluted rags, and withered leaves because of their sinfulness. Isaiah recalled the awesome deeds that God has done, none of which eye has seen not ear eve heard, and pleads with God to return, to come down that he may catch the people doing right. Isaiah perceived God’s fatherly love for the Israelites, acknowledges that they are the clay, that a God is the potter, and that they are the work of God’s hands.          If we are willing clay, God can shape us into vessels that do good , as Saint Paul promises the Corinthians, Jesus will strengthen us as well to endure until he comes again. This is the favor God has shown to us, reshaping us into worthy vessels again and again so that when Christ comes in glory at the end of time, we will be found worthy and blameless on that day of the Lord. Our Advent task is to let God reshape our hearts and minds into his instruments of doing good. Let us pray often our Advent prayer: show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation