3 Dec – 1st Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 63:16-17, 64:1, 3-8
You, Lord, yourself are our Father, ‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.
Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you?
Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance.
Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!
– at your Presence the mountains would melt. No ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for those who trust him.
You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind.
You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you.
We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.
We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.
No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you.
For you hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.
And yet, Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.
I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
You will not be without any of the gifts
Today is the first day in the season of Advent. The opening and beginning in preparation for the coming of our Lord baby Jesus. If we are to look back to the year twenty-seventeen, and realise that we have not done much in terms of God’s work, being busy with our very own agenda, and have not given much charity, we may want to organise ourselves this Advent to enrich our daily living with works of the Spirit.
Last week, God reminded us that, however we have treated our neighbours, we do it unto Him. Today’s reading and Gospel reassures us that, as our heart lies in the Spirit of Christ, we are not short of the ability to do God’s work. We are filled with the Holy Spirit, the gifts from our Lord are ever so powerful and generous for us to show His work onto others. We are called to enrich others as the Lord has enriched us with His love and generosity. Following the reading, now that we know we have the abilities through the Spirit, we will need the attitude. The attitude to want to do the right thing, to always be present and being ready to invite God into our lives where we make the best decisions and actually do the work. To ‘Sleep’ is to switch off and not be prepared for what is ahead of us, such that we may feel lost and dejected. To be ‘Awake’ is to have our hearts prepared in receiving Christ into our lives, that we are always open in our hearts in seeing Jesus in every situation. We are not to be blinded by distractions and temptations that lead us away from the Spirit.
If I am to look back on the past two years, I thought twenty-sixteen was a year where God provided me with the right foundation and stepping stone in my career and personal life; that, I am very thankful for. But twenty-seventeen was an even more eventful year where those foundations and stones built in the previous year began to take place and enable me to see the generosity that He has provided me with. This Advent, I would like to move forward more through preparing myself in being His fully-awake servant, that more works of charity will come out of my daily habits. If you have been experiencing a rather difficult year, let this Advent be an encouraging one, that the coming of Jesus gives you hope and joys, to never forget that He has implanted the abilities in us. And now is for us to raise the right attitude in ourselves.
(Today’s Oxygen by Austin Leong)
Prayer: We pray for those who are having difficult moments in their household, that the Spirit of Advent shows them a new beginning, that it is never too late with Christ.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for a generous and loving God, who watches over us and builds our pathways the way He wants them to be.