Breaking Open the Word
By James Cavanagh
Nov. 28: The First Sunday of Advent
From the second Sunday of Advent on, the focus shifts to the birth of Christ. Isaiah prophesied in Jerusalem during a difficult time in Israel’s history. The region was wracked by war. The northern kingdom was being torn apart by Assyria and the southern kingdom, Judah, was under siege. Jerusalem also suffered from internal threats including religious syncretism, political intrigue and injustice. Isaiah pronounces God’s judgment, but he also has a word of hope. His vision describes the Messianic age when God will reign, war will end and the world will finally know peace. Genuine and lasting peace depends not on any human program, but on God.
Paul wrote to the Church in Rome (second reading) when everyone expected the imminent return of Christ. Though the world around us be dark, Paul urges us to “wake up!” and “put on the armor of light” by living morally exemplary lives.
In this week’s Gospel Jesus warns the disciples that the Son of Man will come suddenly and without warning, like the flood in the days of Noah. The old order will give way to a “new heaven and a new earth” where the Lord will reign forever. Not knowing when or how all this will take place, he says, we are to stay awake, watch and pray.
“Catechism of the Catholic Church”:
Pope Benedict XVI:
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. For information on subscribing to "Breaking Open the Word, click here. For archives click here.