First Sunday of Advent Readings– Isaiah 63:16b–64:2-7 – Psalm 80 – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 – Mark 13:33-37 – God is the potter, we the clay – we are the work of God’s hands Psalm 80: God, let us turn to you

Gospel – Be watchful! Be alert!

First Sunday of Advent reflection by Sr. Regina Bechtle

Advent – It’s a New Year in the Church’s calendar. A new moment, a new beginning in our life as followers of Jesus Christ.

And the invitation of this first Sunday is to “Be watchful, be alert, get ready!” For what? The Feast of Christmas, of course.

But even more, get ready to meet Christ wherever and however he shows up.

How do you get ready? Me – If I have a commitment coming up, I start getting ready way in advance. I make way too many to-do lists. And often I don’t leave room for the unexpected. I can get anxious, frazzled – surely you know the feeling…

This first week of Advent invites me – us – to look differently at getting ready.

For me – maybe for you – that means: Let go of lists!

Instead, practice being present to each moment, ready, as St. Elizabeth Seton would say, to”meet my grace,” in an unplanned request or phone call, an unusual visitor, an unlikely messenger.

My part in getting ready could simply be to slow down, to be still, to make room in my life and spirit. 

To take a deep breath, or two or three, when my plans get shifted.

To be alert to notice the gifts that surround me: the goodness of people; the abundance of creation; the glass that is more than half full.

To notice, as St. Paul names it, “the grace of God bestowed on us – in Christ Jesus”.

In Advent we remember that Jesus, the savior, the healer, the peacemaker for whom we long, has ALREADY come. He lives in us and among us.

This week, this season, I ask for the gift of being gently alert and watchful, so I can meet the grace hidden in each moment.

Because I really do want to notice Christ and welcome him – and he has a habit of showing up in disguise, in all kinds of surprising ways.

I only need to put aside my lists and my plans.

I need to remember who is the potter and who is the clay.

And open my eyes and my heart to what God is already doing in and around me.

And will continue to do. All through the weeks of Advent.

All through the rest of my life – and yours, too.

How will YOU get ready?


Watch Sr. Regina Bechtle’s video reflection.