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The Dawn

First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

This is what 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 mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my brothers and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

NAB

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Picture this. You are warm in your bed. You are in those moments between slumber and alertness. You feel the comfort of your sheets around your body and are enveloped in the warmth radiating back at you. You breathe deeply the scent of early morning. Your eyes slowly flutter open and you notice it is still dark outside. But it is that darkness you associate with the quiet calm before the rising of the sun. It is that soft grey veil that conceals the sky. You feel this nudge in your heart to leave the warmth of your bed. You prop yourself up on your elbow, slowly rise from your bed, and gently swing your legs off the side and place your feet on the cold ground.

You were not expecting to rise with the sun, but something called you to leave your room. You wander the halls of your home as your skin is greeted by the crisp morning air. You feel the anticipation of the dawning of a new day, but you are dwelling in the in-between. This quiet moment has you feeling an equal sense of calm and expectancy, serenity and suspense. Your body hums with the sound of silence. Outside your window, you see the twinkle of the last few stars as they start to fade with the dawn. Usually your mornings are filled with the bustle of routine, the sound of the morning news, the cries for breakfast from your little ones, the scent of your favorite coffee, the pings alerting you to new emails, the blanket of steam from your morning shower, and decisions, decisions, decisions.

But this morning is different. It is the first Sunday of Advent. And you are looking to the coming of the Lord.

Today’s Gospel speaks of what it will be like when Jesus comes a second time. We don’t know when He will come again, and so we must be prepared. This a poignant reading for the beginning of Advent, when we prepare for the coming of Jesus as a human babe. We must look for Him, prepare for Him, set aside all of our daily distractions and make room in our hearts for Him. Because as surely as the coming of the dawn each morning, He will come.

And that is what Advent feels like to me.
The quiet anticipation.
The calm in-between.
The complete serenity in the suspense.
The hope that comes with the rising of the sun.

How is Advent starting out for you? Is it a rush for Christmas present hunting or a peaceful time to go deeper within? How can you quiet your soul to prepare the way of the Lord?

Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife, mom of two, and dentist currently living in The Bay Area, California. You can find out more about her here.

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