Exploring the Sunday Gospel - First Sunday of Advent


This Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, begins as a new year in the Church’s liturgical and lectionary cycle. This year it is the turn for Matthew’s Gospel to take the lead. The Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent is part of Matthew’s adaptation of chapter 13 of Mark’s Gospel, the Apocalyptic Discourse, about the last days.  The whole of Matthew 24 is stimulated by the disciples’ question, put privately to Jesus, ‘What will be the sign of your coming at the end of the age?’ There are two parts to the answer given to this question in the present passage. The first part is that no one knows when the end will come.  The second part is that the disciples must be awake and prepared for Jesus’ coming at any time. This passage has been chosen for the First Sunday of Advent to remind us that we, too, need to be awake and to be prepared for the Lord’s coming.


For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of Advent candles. In today’s picture from their book, Exploring the Orthodox Church, Rees and Sara are processing into church at night time, holding their Advent candles.


Lord Jesus Christ,

we look forward to your birth at Christmas.

Let your light shine in our hearts

and drive away all darkness from our lives,

so that we are ready to welcome you;

for your name’s sake.



Next week, the Second Sunday of Advent introduces John the Baptist preparing for the ministry of Jesus. The image helps to prepare us for next Sunday’s theme is Christmas cards.

You can find out more about that theme by looking at the Educational Resources and the Preparation Resources.


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