Browsing Homilies

First Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Is 2:1-5 | Ps 122 | Rom 13:11-14 | Mt 24:37-44

For those who have been privileged to stand at the lip of the Grand Canyon, you can see into a vast distance. You know that you are the edge of something. Today, we are on the edge of something, too—the edge of time. That can be a little more difficult to see.

A pregnant mother breathes with the contractions of her womb; she is on the edge of something—the moment of birth.

The family of a dying man waits by his hospice bed, attentive to his breathing; he is on the edge of something—on the brink of the time of his death.

Time has edges. Time has moments when something is about to shift.

At the time of Isaiah, bloodthirsty Assyria hovered over Israel. The prophet sensed that time was about to change. Now we know that it was the total destruction of Israel’s northern kingdom and the loss of the ten northern tribes. Only Isaiah felt it coming. He and the people of his time were on an edge when history was bout to shift, but they were unaware.

Jesus alerts us to this edginess: we don’t know our own time or hour. We don’t know the time or hour for our loved ones. Each moment of the present is a shifting point between past and future. We live on the edge of time.

Today, we are on the edge of Advent. Advent is the liturgical time that alerts us: stay awake! Be ready! We know that Christmas is coming. We don’t know when Jesus will come again in glory—but in the meantime, with Isaiah, we pray that swords will be turned into plowshares.

Are we on the edge of a shift in history? We can’t know for sure. But with God’s help, we hold onto this rather quiet Advent hope; and that hope is, our God is timeless, and at the same time, is also the Lord of time.

In the moment of sacred silence that follows, think about your own moments of transition and change, the edginess of time in your own life, and ask yourself, how has God been with you in those moments?

And in the week ahead, as all of us look toward the unfolding of this short liturgical season, how can we use this time of preparation to grow spiritually stronger with great purpose for the next “something” that is coming our way, remembering well, that Jesus is here already, now and always.


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