This coming Sunday begins the lectionary cycle A, the Gospel of Matthew with the first Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday is apocalyptic, the next two focus on John and Baptist, and finally the last Sunday is about Joseph and Mary.

We are so busy with our lives, mostly our work lives, that we do not live in the present moment of ourselves in relationship, so much as we focus on external things that at the end of the day do not matter and do not prepare us for the coming of the messiah at the end of days. Often it seems that our busy-ness is an excuse for the development of the interior life which we do not want to face, because it is our inmost self, wherein we are only too painfully aware of ourselves as we are.

Jesus reminds us of Noah so that we do not fall into the same trap of being asleep to the interior life and unprepared. All the apocalyptic teachings of Matthew 24 and 25 culminate in the judgment of the nations, the parable of the sheep and the goats. Our busy-ness is usually about what is to our advantage, while the attention to the interior life is not about ourselves but rather about the other, and ultimately about Christ.

The first reading from Isaiah speaks of all the “others” gathering on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, to be instructed in the ways of the Lord. The central teaching is about the peacemaking mission of the word of the Lord to ingather al the nations. The mountain of the Lord, a place of judgment and peace recalls images of the garden of Eden.

The Psalm initiate the Psalms of Ascent, pilgrimages stages on the way to the holy city and the temple. Romans 13 urges us to live in the light of the Day, to be prepared by lively rightly, and by putting on the Lord Jesus. The night is far advanced, Paul’s image of the world, and the light of Christ is soon to come. The ancient hymn, “Creator of the Stars of Night” is a beautiful way to begin Advent as the processional.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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