Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings




First Sunday in Advent; Cycle A

November 27, 2022


Readings for this Sunday's Liturgy:

Isaiah 2.1-5;  Romans 13.11-14;  Matthew 24.37-44

Reflections on the Readings as they refer to the contemplative aspect of life in Christ:

Advent: Thy Kingdom Come!

Adveniat Regnum Tuum.  The “Our Father” is an Advent prayer: “Thy Kingdom come.”   

Advent is at the beginning of the Liturgical Year.

Adveniat.  Come.  May Your Kingdom come.  Advent is from Latin, “advenire” –to come.  Advent is the beginning of the Liturgical Year and is the Church’s mystical and sacramental prayer for cosmic Redemption.  We look to the final completion of the work of redemption of the whole of creation and humanity.    Come, Lord, come to save us! 

Advent: Longing Divine Love, Light and Life

From the very beginning of the Church, orthodox mystical writers have written of the Eros-love that is God.  Eros-love is the outgoing desire that the other be part of one’s life.  It is the Eros-love of God that willed other faces to look lovingly and gratefully into the Divine Face, in the intimate encounter that is our transforming love-union within the Triune God.

In Advent we long to see the Face of God reflected in a transformed, recreated cosmos and humanity.  The Light of God enlightens a world that sits in the shadows of chaos.  In Lent we seek Life, the resurrected life of Christ.  The power of His death and resurrection raises up the dead bones of our fallen human race.  In Pentecost, Love is poured out by the coming of the Holy Spirit to form the Church.  In this love we are gathered through Christ into the divine indwelling of the Persons of the Trinity.

Advent is about Light.  It is about the cosmic light because the coming of Christ Jesus as the Light of the world transforms all things and history itself.

We need the contemplative gaze so as to awaken to the reality of cosmic transformation in Christ.  The light of the Gospel is not merely an intellectual thing.  It is a matter of vision given by faith in the living Person of the Word who comes, the Light of the world. 

The First Reading: What Faith Sees

The very first verse of the First Reading demonstrates the prophetic vision:

That is what Isaiah, son of Amos, saw, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah saw because faith enlightened his mind.  Faith gives a clear vision beyond human power, not enabled by physical frequencies of energy, not traceable to human initiatives emanating from the mind.  God gives us a vision enabled by faith from His own Mystery of mercy and providence.

 Faith with its vision-content is as absolute as the divine love that inspires faith.  This seeing is the stuff of contemplative life.  The fruit of our contemplative prayer practice is the vision of the Kingdom that is coming and has already come among us in the light of Christ reflected in his Church in the midst of creation and the emerging moments of time.

Faith is more than the subjective.  Faith is substantial.  Faith opens to us the Reality of Christ Jesus as the center of all reality.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for …” (Hebrews, 11:1).

The Paradox of Faith: The Second Reading

Here is the paradox of the Christian contemplative life.  Faith envelopes us with the luminous , which conforms to our reasoning powers, yet goes beyond  our natural understanding.  Faith, in its essence, is a light that leads to love, impelled by hope given in sanctifying grace.  Love at the very apex of our soul unites us to the Triune God.  This divine sharing in love then enlightens us with an understanding born of love.  The darkness of faith leads to the light of loving vision.  This is the Christ-vision that enlightens the night of the cosmos.  This is the light that we long for in Advent.  

Simeon in the Temple bears witness to it as he holds the Light Incarnate and blesses God for the Light come into the world… “a light of revelation for the Gentiles.”

This light calls us from our sleep. It is the Advent Light!  The dawn of sharing in the divine love summons us from the sleep of our poor selves, impotent in its self-dependence, wounded in its sinfulness.  

It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith.  The night is far spent, the day draws near (the Second Reading).

The spiral process of an evolving liturgical year moves us toward transformation in Christ.  Our salvation is closer each cycle of liturgical life, each cycle of the rhythm of dark nights, purgation, illumination and unitive graces. 

The day draws near.

  We are transformed; the cosmos is transformed.

The Gospel Reading: Daily Watchfullness—The Example of Noah

The Gospel saves us from a merely academic analysis.  Jesus our Lord speaks in the terms of daily life.  Our Lord tells us that if we knew someone were going to break into our house and we were not sure of the time of the theft, we would be watching all the time for the event.  We would not want to be caught off-guard for this terrible moment.

  Be sure of this: if the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming he would keep a watchful eye and not allow his house to be broken into.  You must be prepared in the same way.  The Son of Man is coming at the time you least expect (the Gospel Reading).

The thing we really have to watch out for with fear is not the Lord.  After all Jesus is our Beloved; we long for Him.  We must be watchfully sensitive to the quality of our moral responses in living out our daily lives.  Jesus is also the judge of our life.  We are wayward.  We stray off the path.  We become partners in the great rebellion against the love of God.  We must watch that we do not join in the world’s, and our fallen nature’s, refusal to be obedient.  Advent light stands in contrast and opposition to the cosmic darkness caused by man’s rebellion.

In Noah’s time the people were in rebellion against God even up to the very moment of the flood.  That other side of God’s love and wisdom is His justice. The flood was a purifying punishment.  

The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in Noah’s time.  In the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and being married, right up to the day Noah entered the ark.  They were totally unconcerned until the flood came and destroyed them.  So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man (Gospel Reading).

The Second Reading: Call to Reformation

St. Paul lives for the day of Christ.  Why waste our time on the pursuits that lead us away from the light? 

Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us live honorably as in the daylight, not in sexual excess and lust, not in  quarrelling and jealousy (Second Reading).

Our watchfulness is not only about personal sins.  We are concerned about how our personal decisions affect the cosmic coming of the Kingdom.  Advent is the hope in the full, cosmic re-creation of all things.  Our personal decisions are part of the great whole that is God’s Kingdom in formation and the defeat of the kingdom of night and nothingness.

The Contemplative Gaze

At the heart of the Church, our contemplative life is the watchfulness of faith; it is the peering into the horizon in hope for the dawn.  It is the visit of the Morning Star that shines on us who sit in the darkness, in the shadow of death: The Coming of Jesus, the Morning Star that breaks upon us and leads us into the paths of peace.

This Sunday is a new beginning.  Let our Holy Eucharist be the celebration in the great Paschal Mystery of making all things new.  

Holy Mary, our Mother of Advent, teach us to watch and pray, to ponder in loving contemplation the coming of the Word Incarnate.

--William Fredrickson, (OblSB; D.Min.)



For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Frederickson