“The Hope of Advent”

The good news is that Advent does not depend on optimism. Advent is rooted in promise, the promise that makes hope a way of life for God’s people. God’s promises thread their way through the Scriptures and through history. God’s promises are the only sure source of hope. Hope empowers. Hope sets in motion familiar themes in the Advent season: preparation, anticipation, waiting, and watching. So, because Advent is a season to rehearse the promises of God, Advent is a season for hope.

First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

The word that Isaiah. son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In days to come  the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains  and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,  to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways  and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction  and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations  and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation;  neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:32-44

32 From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 36 “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so, too, will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken, and one will be left. 42 Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.