OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

First Sunday of Advent (Year C)

As usual, the great Season of Advent begins, not by talking about Christmas, but about the Second Coming. We have had this theme already for the past two weeks, but there is a slight change of emphasis in the Scripture readings offered for this Sunday: here the tone is positive: it is the “promise” of what is to come that we contemplate. Even in the Gospel, though it talks of the dreadful signs that mark the end times, we hear of a promise - “liberation”. For this we should stand erect and hold our heads high. The central theme is that we welcome the coming of a person - Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, and this is what links this Sunday to the coming feast of his birth: we are now preparing to celebrate how he once came: may these preparations also help us to prepare for him when he comes again.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
 
This passage is taken from a section of Jeremiah called the “Book of Consolation”. The prophet offers words of comfort and hope to a people destroyed by war and exile. It talks of a future - both Israel’s future and our future - when God’s promises will be fulfilled. Advent is about enthusiasm, as we await the Messiah. Therefore it is good to read with enthusiasm: “See, the days are coming...” is a call to people to share in the prophet’s vision, to share the enthusiasm he already feels. The poetic part which follows this introduction should be read carefully: it would be all too easy for the congregation to miss the basic idea: underline the key concepts: the “virtuous branch”, the fact that Judah “shall be saved”, and what Israel will dwell in: “confidence”.
 
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
This reading suffers from a severe lack of punctuation! Just reading the sentences as written will not enable people to understand them. The read will need to rehearse short pauses and longer pauses, as well as stress and emphasis, so that the meaning is clear. Take the first sentence as an example:
 
“May the Lord be generous/
in increasing your love //
 
and make you love one another/
(and the whole human race) //
 
as much as we love you.”
 
Underline the reference to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ - note that it’s “when”, not “if” - emphasise it accordingly. Also use words like “urge and appeal” to add colour and variety to your reading - allow your tone of voice to let Paul speak to your people. Don’t ignore the use of silence in a reading like this: pauses after emphatic sentences can be very powerful: try one after “…the life that you were meant to live,” before continuing with the words of encouragement.
Gustave Dore "The Triumph of Christianity"

From the Catechism

The final tribulation and Christ’s return in glory
CCC 668-677, 769
 
“Come, Lord Jesus!”
CCC 451, 671, 1130, 1403, 2817
 
Jesus is the Son of David
CCC 439, 496, 559, 2616
 
559 How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of "his father David". Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means "Save!" or "Give salvation!"), the "King of glory" enters his City "riding on an ass". Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God's poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. Their acclamation, "Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord", is taken up by the Church in the "Sanctus" of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord's Passover.
 
God is faithful and merciful
CCC 207, 210-214, 270, 1062-1063

Gospel Wordsearch

Click on the box to the left to get this week's Gospel based Wordsearch. Feel free to copy and paste it into your parish publications.