The readings are fro the catholic lectionary for daily mass while the headline is meant to keep my thinking real:
THE PRESIDENT OF THE POOR COMES TO THE END OF OFFICE
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.
On this first Sunday of Advent, I’m not needed to conduct worship, nor am I attending a service, as I’m needed at home to care for a member of my family. Maybe such ordinary duties of care are as good a way to honour the season as any.
Paul is starting a difficut letter to a Christian Assembly which he will criticise for divisiveness and arrogance, yet he begins with gratitude for the Assembly and its faith. Throughout the letter he shows his anxious care for their welfare, while emphasising that they should be keeping an eye, not on his return visit, but on the return of Jesus Messiah. They should trust in the One who will return because they have been joined to Him by God who is always faithful even if they are not. Perhaps the translation should say, “joined in partnership”, as the Greek is “koinonia”, which originally means a common enterprise. The one with whom believers are joined in a common enterprise is the one who will be revealed as the bringer of justice to the earth “at the last day”. So all’s well then? Christians need fear no judgement since their buddy is the judge? Or could it be that some Christians have so far neglected their joint enterprise with Jesus that they won’t know him when he returns? Throughout his letter, Paul never ceases to recommend that their only purpose is the life they share with Jesus Messiah. No wonderful spiritual knowledge or practice can substitute for that. “To be kept steady and without blame” is to live personaly and communally, here and now, with the one who will judge all worlds.
Mark 13:33-37 ©
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!’
God’s house is any human community where Jesus is present in the exercise of God’s compassion and justice. Notice that God does not live in the house; it is not a shrine, but a place where his house- rules are kept. We know from the teaching of Jesus that it is a house that welcomes sinners, outcasts and the poor, that it is a house of prayer, that it has many rooms.
Disciples are left in charge of this house, in fact they are the doorkeepers, charged with offering a welcome in God’s name,
perhaps also with evicting evil powers as Jesus did, while keeping their eyes open for God’s return.Jesus emphasised that his disciples should stay awake. Perhaps he knew how easy they would find it to fall asleep on the job, nodding off through carelessness, laziness, complacency or frailty, as they did in the garden of Gethsemane. Advent is an annual wake-up call to watch, not for Jesus as if he had not come, but with Jesus, from cradle to cross.