The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Church year.
The Gospel of Luke is our guide through the final Sundays of 2018 and most of the Sundays of 2019. Luke, whom Paul calls our most dear physician, brings us into fellowship with the gentile community for whom he wrote in the first century. To those new Christians in an ancient world, and to men and women and children today, Luke offers the Good News of salvation for all people. No one is denied an invitation to the Kingdom inaugurated by Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Women and the poor and sinners receive especially tender attention from Jesus in Luke’s book.
In the first words of his Gospel, Luke promises a faithful account, based on the evidence of eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word. Luke keeps that promise, providing certainty about the teachings his readers have seen and heard. We too can join those early believers, proclaiming during this year what we have seen and heard. We will sharpen our senses on the whetstone of the Gospel so that we can see and hear Jesus in our midst today, as He reveals himself in ordinary men and women, and in the events of our daily lives.
IN ADVENT, four Old Testament prophets—Jeremiah, Baruch, Zephaniah, and Micah—join with Luke to tell us what they have seen and heard: the ancient promise of a savior nears fulfillment, first in Bethlehem, and then to the ends of the earth and the end of time. The Advent scriptures call us to repentance and to vigilance—to alertness and sensitivity so that we will see and hear the Lord in His coming.
The Advent psalms and Paul’s Advent letters repeat the refrain: The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
During the last weekdays of Advent, the Church calls forth those familiar and moving words from Matthew’s and Luke’s infancy accounts. This is what we have been waiting for: the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph and Mary. The annunciations to Joseph and to Zechariah. Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary and her going to Elizabeth. Mary’s Magnificat. Zechariah’s cantcle of praise.
AT CHRISTMAS, angels, shepherds and kings—an unlikely chorus—tell us what they have seen and heard: