Word Sharing Circle (WSC) Reflection Guide
December 3, 2017 – 1st Sunday of Advent (Cycle B, Year II)
Community Word: We celebrate God’s presence in us at all times.
Theme: God’s presence keeps us watchful and fully committed to Christ.
Promise: “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 1:8)
We start our new Liturgical Year on December 3, 2017 – 1st Sunday of Advent. Advent ushers in the coming of the Christmas season and we express our joyful anticipation through the external signs of Christmas – colorful lights and decorations, parties and gatherings, gift-giving, travel and other activities that lift up the spirit. But spiritual preparation is far different when Advent is here. It is a time to reflect that we are a helpless people and we need God back in our lives. In the Psalms, we intone: ‘Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.’ God never dictates His will on us to do anything. He gives us the gift of freedom, but He never forces us to love. Advent makes us realize that we have abused our freedom and now we need to go back to God, reconnect our spirit with His, and hope to be saved. This we can do by preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. As our theme for the week states: God’s presence keeps us watchful and fully committed to Christ.
The gospel of Mark for the 1st Sunday of Advent is relatively short, but it contains a very intense and uncompromising message from our Lord, Jesus Christ: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come,” (Mk 13:33). By our human nature, we have the tendency to buy time and postpone doing things to the last minute. Jesus is aware of this tendency as He tells us, through the parable of the gatekeeper, to keep watch always because there is no certain time when the lord of the house will return. Jesus emphasizes the need to be obedient and watchful and uses the word “watch” three times to let us know that He, our Master and King, might return unexpectedly and He might just find us unprepared to face Him for judgement.
Advent reminds us to be vigilant in waiting for Jesus who has already come and is ever present in every situation of our lives. But we need to be attentive in living our life to follow where His Spirit leads us, understand what He wants us to do, and make the conscious decision at all times to be Christ-like in character, that we may remain fit for His purpose and plan for us. And when our time on earth is over, we may be found worthy of the promise of eternal life with God the Father in heaven.
As Christians, we face the danger of being indifferent to our faith. Material well-being, distraction and shallowness can easily dull the human spirit. Our souls are restless, so we must always question the ways of the world and react to them with the mind of Christ. We are warned against the danger of false tranquility, the kind that makes us indifferent, lacking in inspiration, lost in our self-centeredness and oblivious to the happening around us. This behavior will merit the judgement of Christ.
But the hope of Advent is to be “watchful” and “alert.” We are to be vigilant and prepared by allowing the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) to reside in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. For through these, God will keep us firm and blameless for the time of His coming. That is His promise in 1Corinthian 1:8 “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The message of Jesus’ second coming, which echoes during the season of Advent, reminds us that we must live as if Jesus were to appear the next minute. This is the time that we make Jesus the most important person in our life. This is the choice we cannot afford to postpone.
Lord Jesus help us to be always ready and watchful, not only during Advent but every moment of our lives, always anticipating and waiting to see You face to face. Teach us to live a simple but spiritually enriched life. Set us free from the complexities of this world, so that as we journey in our faith, we will not reach the end unprepared, but we will be worthy to receive Your eternal reward. Amen.
1. Are you spiritually alert this Advent? How are you vigilant as you wait on Jesus?
2. In what ways can you uplift the lives of the poor during Advent and Christmas?
This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
December 3, 2017 (Sun) – Is 63:16-17,19; 64:2-7/ Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19/ 1Cor 1:3-9/ Mk 13:33-37
December 4, 2017(Mon) – Is 2:1-5/Ps 122:1-9/Mt 8:5-11
December 5, 2017 (Tues) – Is 11:1-10/Ps 72:1, 2, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17/Lk 10:21-24
December 6, 2017(Wed) – Is 25:6-10/Ps 23:1-6/Mt 15:29-37
December 7, 2017 (Thur) – Is 26|:1-6/Ps 118:1, 8, 9, 19-21, 25-27/Mt 7:21, 24-27
December 8, 2017 (Fri) – Gn 3:9-15, 20/Ps 98:1-4/Eph 1:3-6, 11, 12/Lk 1:26-38
December 9, 2017(Sat) – Is 30:19-21, 23-26/Ps 147:1-6/Mt 9:35-10:1, 5, 6-8
“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”