1st Sun Advent B
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
With this Sunday we begin Liturgical Year B which uses the Gospel of Mark as its primary source. As with the reading of Matthew and of Luke in Years A and C, we begin not at the beginning of the Gospel itself but rather in the middle of the Gospel when the story turns from Jesus’ ministry to the Passion narratives. Each of the Gospels contains, at this point, an apocalyptic section. Apocalyptic writings aim at making sense of the present time in the light of the final and future ending of humanity. So, as we begin to recall the coming of Jesus Christ in our flesh, we are called to situate it first in light of the final end of history: the coming of Jesus Christ as Lord over all when there will be a judgement of our lives.
The image Jesus uses is of a Master going away and returning unexpectedly. Judgement will be made upon our lives not on what presentation we may be able to drum up at the last minute but rather on what we do day by day when no-one is around. In truth, it will be made on who we are to ourselves – not the front that we may put up for the world. That is why Jesus stresses that we keep his coming in mind.
A number of vigorous verbs are repeated throughout this small section of text: ‘be on guard’,’ awake’, ‘be alert’, ‘be watchful’. It is so easy to get caught up in our mundane existence and forget where our lives are truly heading. We do not drift into the Kingdom of God. The verbs that Jesus uses here highlight the need to be attentive to his presence even in the most hidden moments of our lives.