Advent is time we receive to prepare for the coming of our blessed Lord Jesus. Small sacrifices help heighten our longing for Jesus’ arrival. Hope fuels our waiting.
Be alert! The new Church year begins with the Gospel call for vigilance since the time of the Lord’s coming is uncertain. Christmas as a set date, but the in-breaking of the Lord Jesus in to our life and death does not. It is the special mission of each Christian and the Church to keep watch for the Lord’s arrival. That is, whatever we do, whether secular or spiritual, we do for Him and not for ourselves.
Beginning today, the First Sunday of Advent, a new Church year commences with a special focus now placed upon hearing the Gospel of Mark at Mass.
Unexpectedly our first hearing of Mark’s Gospel at Mass as the new Church year dawns is not a beginning passage, but rather an episode towards the end (Mark 13:33-37). Nearing His own death and departure, Jesus tells the disciples that they must accept their role in the world. Using a short allegory of a master who departs only to come back at some undetermined future moment, Jesus perfectly sets the scene for Advent.
Advent is the season we wait and ready ourselves for the coming of Jesus. Prepare well!
Mark’s Gospel – Three Features
- Mark may be the earliest complete Gospel, most likely finished just over 3 decades after Jesus rose from the dead. It speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD) as something that will happen in the future. Tradition ascribes the Gospel writer Mark as a disciple and interpreter of the apostle Peter.
- Throughout this Gospel Jesus cautions others not to speak of Him. Scholars sometimes refer to this as the “messianic secret.” The reason for such caution may be that only after the resurrection will the disciple have understanding to proclaim the good news. Until then, their limited perspective would muddle the message.
- The adverb “immediately” occurs 42 times in Mark’s total 675 verses. There is an unmistakable urgency in this Gospel. According to Mark, the world is in dire need of the healing presence and power of the Lord Jesus.