The second reading on the first Sunday of Advent, this year, comes from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
And it is a rather welcome, encouraging reading, especially compared to the more testing and challenging readings of recent days and weeks.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.
I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
This reading too continues to sound the themes of the last day, the day of Judgement. But Paul is confident that those who have been graced by the Lord will be joined with the Lord here and now, and forever.
Why? Partly because he sees in those he addresses signs of the graces they have received from God, but also (and perhaps most importantly) because God is faithful, and God sustains his call to us, come what may. We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful and he calls us back to what is right and good and life-giving.
- What are the graces you know yourself to have received through Jesus Christ?
- What are the graces those closest to you – friends and enemies! – have received?
Give thanks and pray that through the Lord’s pastoring of his people those graces may bear fruit, and help deepen our readiness for kingdom-living.
Photograph is of the reredos and tabernacle of a side altar in the Cathedral, Granada, Spain. The gifts offered to the Lord by the three kings (and by us) are precious, but they are as nothing compared to the gift that the Lord is, and that is given to us in Eucharist. His gift gives us life. (c) 2014, Allen Morris