• Rev. Lawrence E. Polansky

1st Sunday of Advent (B)

“Be watchful! You do not know when the lord of the house is coming.”

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 25(24):1-3 – “To You, I lift up my soul, O my God. In You, I have trusted; let me not be put to shame. Nor let my enemies exult over me; and let none who hope in You be put to shame.”

First Reading: Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7 – “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down!”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 – “Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.”

Second Reading: 1 Cor 1:3-9 – “We wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Alleluia: Ps 85:8 – “Alleluia, alleluia. Show us, Lord, Your love; and grant us Your salvation. Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Mk 13:33-37 – “Be watchful! You do not know when the lord of the house is coming.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 85(84):13 – “The Lord will bestow His bounty, and our earth shall yield its increase.

Happy New Church Year and Happy Advent! For many weeks ... even months already, our world has surrounded us with reminders that Christmas is coming ... especially as COVID-19 has kept us close to home. Today, however, in the Church calendar, our Advent journey truly begins to remind us of the true meaning of the season ... the Christ-child is coming.

There was an interesting journey about 200 years ago in the United States when President Thomas Jefferson sent the now-famous Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on a journey of discovery. They were to look for a shortcut: a route to the riches of the Orient. After months and months of rugged, dangerous travels, they came to the Rocky Mountains. Happily, they believed that the passage they sought would be just beyond this mountain. They reached the top, and what did they see? Miles and miles of additional mountains to cross! To say they were disappointed would be an understatement. But they were ready and prepared to go on. It would be many more hard weeks until they saw a far-reaching body of water that prompted Clark was to write in his journal. “O, the joy!”

Advent and adventure come from the same root word: to come to” or to come toward.” They refer equally to the journey and the arrival. Take a moment to pause and think ... just what did Lewis and Clark need to complete their journey? And how are many of their requirements similar to ours for our Advent journey?

Today’s Gospel is about our Christian journey. Its message is: Be ready, be watchful, be attentive all along the way. What will we need?

Commitment. This may be the hardest part, but Christ’s Church provides the Sacraments to “get us going” and to sustain us.

Wisdom: The help of a guide and leader. We have Jesus and His Gospel to provide guidance on a journey that will have much joy in it. But Advent is a time to remind us that our lives cannot be all about feeling good – but rather using our gifts and talents and graces for doing good and for being good.

Fortitude: This virtue is not talked about very much, but it is essential on many a journey. Fortitude is what Jesus is referring to in today’s Gospel. It is about making readiness, preparedness, and strength a part of our “natural state.” This comes only with practice, prayer and repetition. Having fortitude means seeing a mountain in your way and saying to God: “I’ve seen and climbed many of these before – and I've conquered them with your help.”

Teamwork: Many people do not recall that Lewis and Clark had 33 intrepid members in their band of explorers. They counted very much on each other’s strength. We Christians, of course, have the entire Communion of Saints to offer help ... not to mention our own faith community, our family. Sometimes we get to be the helper ... other times we need to be the one being helped.

What does “being ready” mean? Many of us know the story of the good and humble person who was asked, “If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?” The simple answer: “I’d keep doing what I’m doing now.” “Being ready” means having faith – often beyond our understanding. It means being a good and decent person. It means believing in our hearts in God’s mercy and forgiveness. It is believing in new starts with our own faith. A Benedictine motto applies here: “Always we begin again.”

Don’t “Put it off.” Are there any new ways for us to make Advent a time of preparation? We can utilize the Advent wreath, special meal prayers, donations to organizations that help the neediest people at Christmastime. A simple 15-minute reading from the Bible each night can enrich our thinking. Christ comes at Christmas. He comes at the end of time – our time – and He comes to be with us. So, let us invite Him to watch with us. Knowing this is possible, each of us can say at Christmas and every day of our lives – “O, the joy!”

Advent is a time of “coming toward.” It is a time of “coming to.” It is a time of active waiting that includes preparing. As we prepare to share Holy Communion ... the Eucharist ... the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, let’s make a new commitment to stay close to Him and act on His teachings beginning with Advent and always.

Recent Posts

See All

© 2014 by Reflections of a Diocesan Priest. Proudly created with

Jesus Remember Me - The Piano Guys
00:00 / 00:00