First Sunday of Advent (A)
November 27, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


(Beginning this Sunday, I will be including the proper chants of the Mass in Latin and English as found in the Roman Gradual – the source for the official music of the Latin rite of the Catholic Church.  The propers include the entrance chant (Introit), the response to the first reading (Gradual), Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion chant.  These will be accompanied by brief comments from pioneers of the 20th Century liturgical movement, beginning with the magistral work of Bl. Ildefonso Schuster, The Sacramentary.)



“The Introit Ad te levavi, with its continuation from Psalm xxiv, gives eloquent expression to the feelings of humanity, cast down, yet full of hope, and begs the Saviour to bring it back into the path which leads to Bethlehem, along the way of truth and justice.”




Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Roman Missal; RM)

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen. (Book of Common Worship; BCW)

Faithful God,
your promises stand unshaken through all generations.
Renew us in hope,
that we may be awake and alert
watching for the glorious return of Jesus Christ,
our judge and savior,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Presbyterian Book of Common Worship; PCW)

First Reading  Is 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  Ps 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.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes 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.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.

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.



They will not be disappointed, O Lord, all those who are awaiting you. Make your ways known unto me, O Lord, and teach me your paths.

“The sacred Liturgy, during this time, gathers from the Scriptures all those passages which are most forcible and best adapted to express the intense and joyful longing with which the holy patriarchs, the prophets and the just men of the Old Testament hastened by their prayers the coming of the Son of God.”

Second Reading Rom 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.




Show us, Lord, your love; * and grant us your salvation.

 “The alleluiatic verse...expresses our desire that the Father will now show us his pity and his salvation—which is Jesus Incarnate.”

Gospel Mt 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."

Reflection Questions

How do you hope to walk more steadily in the light of the Lord this Advent?

How might you fortify yourself against “works of darkness” with the “armor of light” this Advent?

How might you be better prepared for the coming of Christ this Advent?

Catena Nova

It is…Jesus Christ himself who is the source as well as the object of the liturgy; and hence the ecclesiastical year…is neither more nor less than the manifestation of Jesus Christ and His mysteries, in the Church and in the faithful soul. It is the divine cycle in which appear all the works of God, each in its turn….what the liturgical year does for the Church at large, it does also for the soul of each one of the faithful that is careful to receive the gift of God (Abbot Prosper Guéranger).

We preach not one coming only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the first. The first revealed the meaning of his patient endurance; the second brings with it the crown of the divine kingdom.  Generally speaking, everything that concerns our Lord Jesus Christ is twofold. His birth is twofold: one, of God before time began; the other, of the Virgin in the fullness of time. His descent is twofold: one, unperceived, like dew falling on the fleece; the other, before the eyes of all, is yet to happen. In his first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger. In his second coming he is clothed with light as with a garment. In his first coming he bore the cross, despising its shame; he will come a second time in glory accompanied by the hosts of angels. It is not enough for us, then, to be content with his first coming; we must wait in hope of his second coming (St. Cyril of Jerusalem).

Watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour. Like many other Scriptural texts, this admonition is addressed to all of us, though it is formulated in such a way that it would seem to concern only Christ’s immediate audience. We can all apply it to ourselves because the Last Day and the end of the world will come for each of us on the day we depart this present life. This means we must make sure we die in the state in which we wish to appear on the Day of Judgement. Bearing this in mind each of us should guard against being led astray and failing to keep watch, otherwise the day of the Lord’s return may take us unawares. If the last day of our life finds us unprepared, then we shall be unprepared on that day also.  (St. Paschasius Radbertus).

You therefore, Brethren, to whom as to little children, God reveals what He has hidden from the wise and the prudent, dwell in earnest reflection upon the things that are truly salutary, and diligently seek out the reason of this season of Advent, asking namely: Who is it that is coming; whence He comes and how He comes; to what purpose; when, and where, does He come? Praiseworthy indeed is this curiosity, and most salutary: nor would the universal Church commemorate so devoutly this present time of Advent unless that there was contained within it some deep significance, some sacred mystery (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

O my God, Word of the Father, Word made flesh. For the love of us, You assumed a mortal body in order to suffer and be immolated for us. I wish to prepare for Your coming with the burning desires of the prophets and the just who in the Old Testament sighed after You, the one Savior and Redeemer… O Lord, send Him whom You are going to send… As you have promised, come and deliver us! I want to keep Advent in my soul, that is, a continual longing and waiting for this great Mystery wherein You, O Word, become flesh to show me the abyss of Your redeeming, sanctifying mercy. O sweetest Jesus, You come to me with Your infinite love and the abundance of Your grace; You desire to engulf my soul in torrents of mercy and charity in order to draw it to You. Come, O Lord, come! I, too, wish to run to You with love, but alas! my love is so limited, weak, and imperfect! Make it strong and generous; enable me to overcome myself, so that I can give myself entirely to You (St. Teresa of Avila).

No moment, be it ever so sublime, is totally fulfilled; in fact, whenever it does seem fulfilled, it is always because it is full of promise, pointing beyond itself to what is beyond all time, to what is eternal. For the most part, however, things slip away unexplored, undone, unexhausted, unlived; beings touch and feel each other but without recognition, without penetrating one another. And what is more frightening, lovers fall apart again; they cannot maintain their love; habit and familiarity cause life to turn to stone. Time proves the most genuine avowals of faithfulness to be false. All that is transitory is shipwrecked on the sandbanks of reality, whither the waves of time draw it, to be smashed to pieces (Hans Urs von Balthasar).

Advent is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of divine Love growing in silence. It is the season of humility, silence, and growth. For nine months Christ grew in his Mother’s body. By his own will she formed him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life. She had nothing to give him but herself. He asked for nothing else. She gave him herself. Working, eating, sleeping, she was forming his body from hers. His flesh and blood. From her humanity she gave him his humanity (Caryll Houselander).


Redeeming the Time

     I recently came across a translation of a verse from the Letter to the Ephesians according to the traditional Catholic version, the Douay-Rheims which I had never heard before.  As with the King James Version the translation expresses the Greek more literally and reads, “See, brethren, how you walk circumspectly: not as unwise, but as wise: redeeming the time, because the days are evil”  (5:15-16).  Come to find out there is a parallel verse in the Letter to the Colossians as follows: “Walk with wisdom towards them that are without, redeeming the time” (4:5). The translation currently approved for liturgical use in the United States, the New American Bible, like the New Revised Standard Version renders “redeeming” as “making the most of the opportunity (or time).” 

     While another Greek word for “redeem” is used elsewhere in the New Testament with the meaning “to purchase” or “to ransom” as in the manumission of a slave, the word in these verses is used twice more by Paul in the Letter to the Galatians where he speaks of Christians being “redeemed” from the Law of Moses, with the meaning of “rescued” or even “ransomed.”  Interestingly, modern translations in those instances do employ the English word “redeemed.”

     If you will bear with the Greek lesson a little bit longer — trust me, this has everything to do with Advent! — the word for “time” in the verses from both Ephesians and Colossians is “kairos” — as distinct from the other word for time in Greek, “chronos.”  The latter refers to “clock time” while the former refers to time with significance.  So, for example, while for most people March 3, 1956 is a long-past day on a discarded calendar (“chronos”) it means much more to me as it is my birthday (“kairos”).  On a grander scale, we could say that dates such as July 4, 1776 and September 11, 2001 will never be for Americans merely “chronos.”

     Which brings me at last to Advent and indeed to the liturgy in general.  I am taking my cue from the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches where — yes, in Greek — before the service begins the deacon announces to the priest, “It is time (kairos) for the Lord to act.”  In other words, clock time recedes into the background (except insofar as they determine the feast or season) and kairos comes to the fore since liturgical time is always full of significance.  Indeed, the Eastern understanding of liturgy always conveys the sense that Time and Eternity as well as Heaven and Earth, encounter or intersect each other during the celebration. 

     And how does such intersection happen?  Well, at any given time, the world will be experiencing kairos in a number of ways as will the members of the congregation gathered for the liturgy.  These events will often be matters of grave concern.  As I write these words, the war in Ukraine rages on with deep concern over the security of nuclear facilities; the past summer has seen a variety of weather-related disasters from record-breaking heat waves to massive flooding; gun violence and crime plague city streets; political divisions threaten to fray the social fabric, and economic woes affect everything from grocery bills to one’s gas tank.  All of this is “secular” kairos impinging on the liturgical action —and all in need of “redemption.”

     And the point of intersection when one enters the “sacred” realm of the liturgy is nothing other than the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection as it unfolds throughout the liturgical year from the First Sunday of Advent to the Feast of Christ the King.  While the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints provide further reminders of the myriad ways the mystery has been lived in exemplary lives of countless men and women.  In other words, how the time of Christ and of the Church redeem history by opening it up to the decisive intervention of God in human affairs, challenging the world with the message of the Gospel and demonstrating its power to rescue humanity from its headlong fall into the abyss.  Nor do the particular crises of individuals fail to find meaning and rescue in light of the Lord’s pasch.  

     Advent, in particular, brings out this redemptive intersection of sacred and secular kairos.  Advent is, after all, about time — the time of God’s humanity forming in the womb of Mary and the time of God’s future when the vagaries of human life and history — the whole sweep of time — will reach its final consummation.  So on the first Sunday of Advent the Apostle reminds us, “You know the time (kairos); it is the hour now for you to wake from sleep.”  All of which culminates Christmas night when the proclamation of the Lord’s Nativity is chanted in which the intersection of chronos and kairos could not be clearer.  The text’s rehearsal of  “century upon century” interweaves the main events of salvation history during the time of the Elder Covenant with events in secular history including the founding of the City of Rome and the reign of Augustus Caesar until finally “JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man.”

     Of course, God’s kairos is not limited to the years that circumscribe Jesus’ earthly life.  His first Advent celebrated at Christmas is joined to the expectation of his Second Coming in God’s future.  Our preparation for the former during these four weeks is really symbolic of the Vigil we are always holding in anticipation of the latter.  That is the genius of liturgical time; it encompasses past, present and future all at the same “time” or kairos.

     So what could it mean then for us to “redeem the time” or, as in modern translations, “make the most of the opportunity” when we gather for the public prayer of the Church?  Pope Francis, in his recent apostolic letter Desiderio desideravi (“I have longed”) on liturgical formation offers some guidance.  There the pope reminds us how in the Eucharist “the power of Christ’s paschal mystery reaches us” (cf. no. 11). And it does so in a collective action where God  “takes us by the hand, together, as an assembly, to lead us deep within the mystery that the Word and the sacramental signs reveal to us” via a “symbolic language” (no. 19).  In a remarkable reference to the great liturgical scholar, Romano Guardini, Francis speaks of our being “carried along by this inner transformation of our time” (no. 34)

     Beginning then with Advent Sunday and every Sunday following we have the opportunity of making the most of kairos time by entering into God’s unfolding action in history and in our own lives, rescuing each moment for God’s purposes by suffusing events with meaning and value — even if only by hope.  As Pope Francis says, “the liturgical year is for us the possibility of growing in our knowledge of the mystery of Christ, immersing our life in the mystery of His Death and Resurrection, awaiting his return in glory.  This is a true ongoing formation. Our life is not a random chaotic series of events, one following the other. It is rather a precise itinerary which, from one annual celebration of the His Death and Resurrection to the next, conforms us to Him, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” (no. 64).  Amen.



Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may grow in our awareness of how God is fulfilling the deepest desires of our hearts, expectantly await God’s continuing work, and learn to recognize God’s presence in our lives.

For all who await God's blessings, particularly those who are pregnant, those who are separated from family or homeland, and for members of the military awaiting to return home: that God’s comforting and strengthening love will sustain them.

For freedom from fear: that we may know God’s presence with us even in times of darkness and confusion.

For leaders of nations: that their hearts may be awakened by God so that the needs for jobs, healthcare, safety and nourishment may be met for all who are in need.

For all who are ill, particularly those who are awaiting surgery: that God’s healing love will sustain and comfort them.

For the homeless and the homebound: that they may experience love and acceptance through our concern and outreach.

For all who yearn to be free and begin again, particularly those with addictions, those in abusive situations, those experiencing discrimination and persecution: that God lead them to healing and new beginnings.

For communities torn by strife and civil discord: that God will turn hearts from violence and help everyone to listen and work toward a common good.

For the gift of peace: that God will teach the hearts of all the human family so that swords may be turned into plowshares and the resources for war into resources for healing and development.

God of majesty and power,
amid the clamour of our violence
your Word of truth resounds;
upon a world made dark by sin
the Sun of Justice casts his dawning rays.
Keep your household watchful
and aware of the hour in which we live.
Hasten the advent of that day
when the sounds of war will be for ever stilled,
the darkness of evil scattered,
and all your children gathered into one.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Chant


“The Offertory also is borrowed from Psalmxxiv—the typical psalm of the first Sunday of Advent—and shows clearly the reason of such a choice in the words: He who with watchful trust waits upon the Lord shall never be confounded.”

Offertory Hymn (Latin, ca. 7th cent)


O heavenly Word, eternal Light,
begotten of the Father's might,
who in these latter days wast born
for blessing to a world forlorn.

Pour light upon us from above,
and fire our hearts with ardent love,
that, as we hear thy truth today,
all wrong desires may burn away;

And when, as judge, thou drawest nigh
the secrets of our hearts to try,
to recompense each hidden sin
and bid the saints their reign begin.

O let us not, for evil past,
be driven from thy face at last,
but with thy saints for evermore
behold thee, love thee, and adore.

To God the Father, God the Son,

And God the Spirit, ever One,

Praise, honor, might and glory be

From age to age, eternally.

Communion Chant


“The Communion is a song of gladness and thanksgiving, takenf rom Psalmlxxxiv,from which we have also the alleluiatic verse. OurLord has given us in theEucharist a pledge of his infinite goodness, and our hearts, so long rendered arid and sterile by sin, but now refreshed by the dews of grace, are about to bring forth fruit in due season.”

Closing Hymn Text: Lawrence Tutiette (1825-1897)

O quickly come, great Judge of all,
For glorious will Your coming be.
All shadow from the truth will fall,
O come and heal that we may see!
O quickly come! for doubt and fear
Dissolve like cloud when You are near.

O quickly come, true Life of all;
Death's mighty pow'rs do still abound;
In ev'ry place sin's shadows fall,
On ev'ry heart sin's mark is found:
O quickly come! for grief and pain
Shall never cloud Your marvelous reign.

O quickly come, O come and save!
Reign all around us and within.
Let sin no more our souls enslave,
Let pain and sorrow die with sin.
O quickly come! for You alone
Can make Your scattered people one.