ADVENT SEASON: 1st SUNDAY B — Stay Awake Faith Celebrated

MARK 13, 33-37

lectionary bible

33  Jesus said to his disciples: 
‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.

34  It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from his home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own work to do; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake.

35  So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow or dawn;

36  if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep.

37  And what I am saying to you I say to all: Stay awake!’    

New Jerusalem Bible  

Doubleday 1984 


Advent gives an opportunity to create a liturgical ambience without parallel among the other times and seasons of the liturgical year.  The late Clifford Howell characterized the Season as an “extraordinary blend of cheerfulness and sadness, of fear, of longing with joy in possession.”

Central in Advent is a spirit of expectancy, of waiting. 

The exiles returned from Babylon [1] with high hopes spurred by the prophecies of Second Isaiah. Failing to find any of the restoration promised but seeing the Temple still in ruins they lamented. In what is considered a “biblical jewel” this psalm of lament describes a people awaiting God to rend the heavens and descend into human history to intervene.

In response the psalmist [P] petitions God to intervene by sending his messianic king to help humans in restoring the city of Jerusalem since human sin continues to cause the delay of the restoration.

Paul in like manner [2] while thanking God for the charismatic gifts of the community realizes the abuse of humans in using these gifts. The growth is not yet fulfilled in the disciples who need to remain in watchful alertness for Christ to reveal himself and nurture them until the coming of the Lord’s day.

Watching and Waiting Danielle Bean

Watching and Waiting
Danielle Bean

Rereading these passages in the contexts of our times, Christ’s disciples – like the doorkeeper in the parable [G] — need to be ever watchful and alert in waiting for the return of the Lord who is coming each day to meet us.

In celebrating the Word what songs can instil in us the central spirit of waiting in expectant hope, of “longing with joy of possession?”



When the King Shall Come Again [G]

Johann Horn & Christopher Idle

Save Us, O Lord [P]

Bob Dufford

Presentation of Gifts

The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns [G, selected verses]

John Brownlie 1907

O God, Our Help In Ages Past

Isaac Watts


Wait for the Lord [G, selected verses]


Eye Has Not Seen [1]

Marty Haugen

Sending Forth

Christ, Be Our Light! [1, 2]

Bernadette Farrell

1 = 1st reading

P = Responsorial Psalm

2  = 2nd Reading

G = Gospel


The King shall come when morning dawns

John Brownlie 1907


The King shall come when morning dawns,

And light triumphant breaks;

When beauty gilds the eastern hills,

And life to joy awakes.


Not as of old, a little child

To bear, and fight, and die,

But crowned with glory like the sun,

That lights that morning sky.


O, brighter than the rising morn,

When He, victorious rose,

And left the lonesome place of death,

Despite the rage of foes;—


O, brighter than that glorious morn,

Shall this fair morning be,

When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,

And we His face shall see.


The King shall come when morning dawns,

And earth’s dark night is past;—

O, haste the rising of that morn,

That day that aye shall last.


And let the endless bliss begin,

By weary saints foretold,

When right shall triumph over wrong,

And truth shall be extolled.


The King shall come when morning dawns,

And light and beauty brings;—

Hail! Christ the Lord; Thy people pray

Come quickly, King of kings.







In this season of joyous expectancy and waiting …

images-1Who are we waiting for?

What does the One coming to meet us expect to find in the world?

What is expected of us as individuals and as community in our ongoing preparation this side of eternity … until the Lord comes?