First Sunday of Advent

The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 23:44

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered. The desire to be open to God is itself the desire of God to break through into your awareness of the presence of God within.

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

Bringing our attention to our breath…….deepening it for a moment…… we are going to do so for three full breaths, drawing the breath all the way in …. feeling it filling your body……focusing on that moment where it stops drawing in and before the body begins exhaling again….. the transition point between the end of one moment and the beginning of another……allowing it all the way out and again focusing on the transition point….the end of one moment and the beginning of another…….

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so. If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Led by the Spirit – Eric Nordhoff

An introduction to the Gospel

There is certainly no sign of Christmas in this reading, taken from near the end of Matthew’s gospel. Here Jesus is
presented as giving his last sermon to his disciples before the events of Holy Week. The theme of his preaching is the idea that the Messiah will come again and people will be held accountable for their actions. Therefore the disciples are called upon to be always vigilant and aware that accepting Jesus is not just a once off decision but a constant striving in to live the way he wants us to.

This is an important theme in the gospel of Matthew where there is an insistence on the need for faith to express itself in a genuine attempt to do God’s will in our lives. What that means is shown by Jesus who throughout his public life lived “God with us” a name given to him at the time of his birth (Matthew 1:23).

Here is the connection with Advent. This season begins with a reflection on the future and where we are heading. It is an appeal for repentance, a true change of heart that will allow us to recognise how and where God is at work and to respond to him in the challenges of every day.

Sean Goan – Let the Reader Understand

Read the Gospel

Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.
‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Pondering Questions

Advent is often experienced as an in-between space. Can you relate to periods of time like this in your own life? What is it like waiting on the threshold between old and new?

Today’s gospel urges us to keep awake. This Advent, how might you embrace this call, to live with greater awareness, waiting and watching for Christ’s presence in the world around you?


Close the time of prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in Written  format or on Video

The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.

The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.