First Sunday of Advent

These four weeks of the Advent season remind us to be watchful and alert to be ready and eager for the joy and peace that the Messiah Jesus brings — and to prepare ourselves as faithful servants for the Master’s coming at the end of time.

  • To the point: Jesus’ admonition “Be watchful! Be alert!” was spoken to hearers holding heightened expectation that the Messiah was about to come to restore Israel to its former power, wealth, and glory. This limited expectation prevented them from recognizing Jesus as the Messiah already among them. In our Advent watchfulness, what are we looking for, and whom do we expect? To answer these questions in all their implied fullness, we must broaden our limited expectations not only about Advent but even about God’s presence to us in our daily living.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Mark 13:33-37) to the first reading: Both the first reading and second readings affirm God’s utter faithfulness in gifting us with “the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “awesome deeds we could not hope for,” and continued loving care: God delivers us from guilt and sin and enriches us in every way in Christ.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: When we have expectations, we are watchful and alert; without expectations, we easily become faint and lackluster. This Sunday’s gospel reminds us that if we want to be watchful and alert for Christ’s coming, we must develop heightened expectation for God’s continuing gift of divine Presence.

Centering prayers


(Mark 13:33-37)

What I say to you, I say to all: “Watch!”

Rough mountain, steep pathway, rugged trail with ruts,
or sometimes, cool trails, running streams.
Whether rough roads or sunny streets
let us never stop watching for you, O Lord.
Come to us as we walk with one another
on this your pathway of time.
We look for you in all things,
all creation, every event, every love,
everyone we meet, along the way.

The First Reading

(Isaiah 63:16b-17; 64:1, 3b-8)

We are the clay and you are the potter.

Lord, master potter, we are all the clay
in your loving hands.
Shape us as you will. Polish us.
Smooth our rough ways.
Mend us: we are broken.
Please make us new.

The Second Reading

(1 Corinthians 1:3-9)

I give thanks to my God always on your account.

Christ, we surely thank you
for the grace you give
to all of us on Earth,
to our dear friends, our loved ones,
in this time of need.
Always. Enrich us in every way,
in all burdens and all knowledge.
Show us how to end every war,
to fix the climate,
and to love all your children.
Do not let us wander or sleep.

Copyright © 2023, Anne M. Osdieck

Advent meditations