Advent and Christmas: Reflections on the Sunday Readings, Year B

Monday, 1 November 1999

Publication of Pax Christi USA (Eerie, PA). 7 pp.

The final few Sundays in Ordinary Time and the first few Sundays in Advent constitute what we might call the “apocalyptic season of turning” in our church calendar. Traditionally the gospel readings speak of the end of the “old order” and the coming of a new world anticipated in Christ. This is appropriate not only as a transition into a new liturgical year and lectionary cycle, but also as a reminder that “in Christ there is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” (II Cor 5:17).

The call to “stay awake” concludes Mark’s “Little Apocalypse,” and represents the last of Jesus’ parables in Mark. Though we do not know when history will finally be liberated from the grip of the Powers (13:32f), we have been told how: by the “coming of the Human One” (13:26f). In Mark this “advent” refers to the nonviolent power of the Cross that alone can transform the world (see Mk 8:34- 9:1; 15:25-38). The question is whether we will have “eyes to see” this power— thus the refrain in this sermon to “watch out” (13:5,9,23,33), reiterated here as a call to “shake off sleep” (13:33).

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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.