May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.
Second reading for the 1st Sunday in Advent 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
The Lord calls us into a new communion with him – and the work of the Church is to ensure that call, and the love that inspires it, is heard by all the world.
The apostle Paul calls the Church to live that love, to be the more authentic witness to the Lord, and to enjoy the first fruits of his love.
Mosaic. Mount of the Beatitudes, Galilee. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’
Gospel for the 1st Sunday of Advent, Year C Luke 21:25-28,34-36
We hear this gospel passage at a time when there is political and social uncertainty; and fear and anger are engendered by this insecurity.
Such circumstances fret at the fabric of society – not that said fabric is especially strong and resistant even at the best of times. Society has a tendency to degrade and atomise when there is a sense of risk and danger, and when there is opportunity to make a quick buck for yourself or yours.
Over the coming year Luke speaks of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Kingdom, and of the community forced in faith and grateful response to the love of God.
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For you anointed your Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness as eternal Priest and King of all creation, so that, by offering himself on the altar of the Cross as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace, he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption and, making all created things subject to his rule, he might present to the immensity of your majesty an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.
And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .
Preface for Solemnity of Christ the King
Christ calls us to receive his rule – not for his glory, but to bring us to the Father, and make us citizens of that extraordinary kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, and justice, love and peace.
Which of these values do you most need for your own integrity?
And which do you see others as being in greatest need of?
12th C enamel. Collection of the Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.