1st Sunday of Advent (A)

November 27, 2022


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For many of us, Christmas is a time not of peace, but of partying and shopping, writes Father Hawkswell. “The Church schedules the season of Advent so that we can put our spiritual house in order for the birth of Christ.” (Adobe)

Altier Bloom Chama Chua Cummins Ekpunobi Fallon
Fleming Hawkswell Holsington Kavanaugh Lane Langeh Lawrence
Pavone Pellegrino Schuster Senior Smiga     

Bishop Robert Barron WORD ON FIRE PODCASTS and featured videos of priests delivering their Sunday Homilies for the 1st Sunday of Advent (A)


Preparing for Christmas: It’s Not Parties and Shop Till You Drop

Homilies Hawkswell

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” we hear in the popular song.

I do not refer to the advertisements urging us to buy unwanted things for people we hardly know. I mean that this Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year, and the first Sunday in the season of Advent, when the Church prepares for the birth of Christ, God’s son.

“The night is far gone, the day is near,” St. Paul says. “Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy.”



Rebuilding the Traditions of Our Lives

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2004

As long as we are alive, we are changing, and our holiday traditions should change as well so that they reflect the people we are today. 

Homilies Smiga

There is a saying in architecture, “First we shape the building and then the building shapes us.”  This insight points to an interplay–a give and take–between ourselves and the spaces we inhabit.  Buildings don’t just happen, someone shapes them, someone designs them, someone decides how many rooms there will be, how many windows, how much open space.  But, once those decisions are made and we live in the buildings, the buildings then shape us.  They influence our lives either for good or for ill.  What is true about buildings is also true about traditions.  We shape our traditions.  But then our traditions shape us.  Our decisions about what we are going to do or not do, how we’re going to gather with other people are decisions we make.  But once we put them into practice they influence us and help shape who we are as people.  As in architecture, there is a give and take; an interplay between ourselves and our traditions.

More Homilies from Fr. Smiga

  • Advent Waiting – December 2, 2007
  • Preparing for the Changes to Come – November 28, 2010
  • Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ – November 27, 2016
  • Awake from Sleep – December 1, 2019



The Seasons of the Heart

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2015

Fr. Fleming takes his annual retreat on the First Sunday of Advent, so homilies for this day  are scarce. Here is a homily he gave for Year B, but is applicable to Year A. 

What’s helpful is not buying, consuming and filling up on everything – but rather – emptying ourselves out to make room, for Jesus to come in to our hearts and make himself to home there. The child we name our king at Christmas reigns from the throne of the Cross…

Homilies Concord Pastor

As we enter the season of Advent this weekend (with Christmas and a new year just around the corner) I’m wondering what seasons are weathering our souls, yours and mine, tonight? Is it summer, fall, winter or spring in our heart of hearts?  Is my heart getting ready for Christmas?  or wary of its approach? Whatever the clime within us, we bring our hearts to this first day of Advent, to a season for preparing to ready the way for Jesus to enter our hearts.

Like the seasons of our souls, Jesus pays no attention to the weather or the calendar. In any and every season  he is ready to make his home within us: to warm what’s chilled; to put our grief to rest; to refresh what has wilted; and to stir up life new life and spirit. An inner season of worry and fear may keep me from lifting my heart in Christmas joy. I may not yet be ready to surrender my grief to healing. My heart may be too blue to think of new beginnings.

But no matter.  No matter the season or the mood  /   in my heart or yours, Jesus comes in season and out of season, in good times and in bad,  in sickness and in health, in hope and hopelessness, in sorrow and in joy. When I need him most and least expect him: Jesus is coming into my heart and yours. Not just at Christmas, not just in Advent,  not just in December, but 24/7/365.



Be Ready

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2022

The First Sunday of Advent tells us to stay awake. Stay awake for the end of time. Stay awake for the end of our own times.


The Gospel speaks about the suddenness of the end of time, be that the end of all time or the end of our own particular time. We have to be ready because the Lord will Come a Second Time when we least expect. As long as we are doing our best to live as his sons and daughters, we really don’t have anything to fear. In fact, we can look forward to the times prophesied by the first reading from Isaiah, a time when there will be at peace, a time when swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, and aircraft carriers into skate board parks and tanks into chicken coops. The only thing we have to do, according to the conclusion of the first reading, is walk in the light of the Lord.



Waiting in Readiness

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2019

As we live in this “in-between time” and anticipate Christ’s birth and return, we must constantly be vigilant, living prayerfully and righteously in anticipation for His return. 


oday marks the beginning of Advent – a time of expectation, a time of anticipation, preparation and longing for Christ (both His birth and His Second Coming).  But before we come to that great feast of the Nativity of our Lord, the Church invites us to cast our vision into the future, to the very End. That’s the paradox of Advent, before we reexamine and consider how it all began, we need to consider how the whole story of humanity, in fact of the universe, would eventually end. You may have heard this advice before: sometimes things gets worse, in fact it has to hit rock bottom, before it gets any better.

The world in which we live is in a time of anticipation. A world where we are still searching and anticipating a cure to cancer, an antidote to war, a solution to the problem of evil and suffering. Despite years of technological advancement and research, social, economic and political experiments, successes and failures, we are nowhere near to finding a perfect solution to everything. Yes, our world is incomplete and it waits with eagerness for that completion, for that perfection, for that great closure to all the open ended issues we are still facing.



The Lord’s Coming

1st Sunday of Advent (A)

A rededication during Advent to efforts on behalf of the unborn is especially appropriate because we are preparing to commemorate the birth of God as a baby, who was an unborn baby as well.

His coming both demands and enables a change from a culture of death to a culture of life. “Raising the sword” in the first reading does not only refer to war; it refers to any attack on human life and dignity. To “conduct ourselves properly as in the day” (Second reading) and to “walk in the light of the Lord” (First reading) mean that we treat every human life with the respect and protection that it deserves.The Lord’s coming transforms both individual conduct (emphasized in the second reading) and the conduct and policies of entire societies and nations (emphasized in the first reading). Building a culture of life therefore involves both as well.




A Watchful Waiting

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

Advent appeals to us to activate the capacity to wait. It includes living this season fully without rushing into Christmas prematurely.

We are in the rush world which is providing us with all the facilities that accelerate our losing of the capacity to wait with patience.

As we don’t want to waste time preparing a meal in the kitchen, we have packed meal from the supermarket. And because we have no time to waste, sitting down with friends and enjoy the meal; the bite is packed in such a way that we can eat while hurrying through the street.

And with digital gadgets, our will is done just at the press of the button. But when I press the button two times, three times and I have no response –that is just unbearable. That’s how gadgets find themselves flying through the window or hit against the wall.



“Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2016

Advent is a time to renew our faith in this God who loves us so much that He sends us His Son in our humanity so that we can share in God’s divinity. 


Far too often we walk only by our own light and that is why we stumble and fall. The Prohet Isaiah sees this incredible vision that he describes to us today in the first reading:  All nations come streaming to God!  More than that, Isaiah tells us:  >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.”

As we look at our world today, none of this seems to be happening.  Instead there seems always to be more warfare and more threats of one nation against another.  Yet in this time of Advent, we can all set our hearts before the Lord, asking for this vision of Isiah to come true.



Come, Lord Jesus

1st Sunday of Advent (A)

Words like “come’ and “stay awake” are eminent in our liturgy.

Happy New Year to you all! It is not January 1, though! We are turning the page today to a New Liturgical Year: Year A. This begins with Advent; a time of preparation that extends over four Sundays before Christmas. The word ADVENT comes from the Latin ad venio, to come to, and adventus, coming or arrival. We are anticipating Adventus Domini, the coming of the Lord. Advent is filled with preparation and expectation and getting ready for Christmas. It is a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and hope, meditating on the incredible love and the humanity of our God in taking on flesh of the Virgin Mary. In this season, we shall often read the prophesies of Isaiah. The readings will focus on key figures of the Old and New Testament that God chose and prepared to make the Incarnation possible.



This website is by Fr. Tommy Lane, S.S.L., S.T.D. (License in Sacred Scripture, Doctorate in Sacred Theology), returning again to my home diocese, Cloyne, Ireland in fall 2020 and formerly Professor of Sacred Scripture at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland. I have deliberately designed this as a website rather than a blog because many of the more than 2000 visitors to this website every day are priests and deacons looking for homily ideas.



“Don’t be afraid, dear friends, to take the ‘alternate’ path indicated by true love: a sober and solid lifestyle, with loving, sincere and pure relations, an honest commitment to studies and work, and the profound interest in the common good.” Pope Benedict XVI to the young pilgrims gathered in Loreto, Italy


The Longing of Our Hearts

1st Sunday of Advent (A)

The deeper our longing the more God can pour his love into our hearts.

On this First Sunday of Advent, we might ask: What are my deepest longings? for myself? for those I love? Jesus was obviously able to delight in sinners like us when they gave in to their longing and accepted his invitation to believe, and to cry out for release. The Advent liturgy wants us to focus on this longing and this hope. What role does this yearning have when we come to make decisions about ourselves, about our family, or about the contribution we can make to society? Are there any steps I can take to go beyond habit and routine and to engage myself on a deeper search for communion with God and a more faithful response to God’s inspiration? Let us listen to the advice of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, a mystical theologian of the fourth century: ‘The person who wants to see God will do so in the very fact of always following Him. The contemplation of God’s face is an endless walking towards Him … There is only one way to grasp the power that transcends all intelligence: not to stop, but to keep always searching beyond what has already been grasped’(In Canticum Canticorum, Homily 2,801).

SOURCE: Michael Fallon, msc

Seeing Daylight

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 1997

Advent: to enter life, here and today.

Symbols are rarely unambiguous. Even the image of the dove or the lion has its shadow. Water is life-giving, but it can take away your life just as surely. It may cleanse, but it is also treacherous. Fire is furious; fire is comforting. Clouds have silver linings. Countless images have their positive and negative faces.

So it is with night. Nights have starry skies that inspire philosophers like Kant and artists like van Gogh. The night brings rest and quiet. It signals not only endings, but expectancy.

But night, at least in Advent-time, has less ambiguity than most imagery. It is something to escape. Utter night, without the promise of morning, is deepest gloom. Endless night, without the glow of candle or star, is a void. Even ordinary and partial night is more scary than starry.

It is best we sleep in the dark. At night violent armies clash. Streets clatter with shouts and gunfire, sometimes even until the break of dawn. Debaucheries, betrayals, carousing are heard faintly in the distance. Nearby, once “the night is far spent,” Paul phrases it, the stumbling home from wild desires sounds a city night’s death-knell.


Keeping Watch and Staying Awake

1st Sunday of Advent (A) – 2019

As the days get darker and darker we are a people who keep watch for the light of the world on the horizon.

During the season of Advent, it wouldn’t be a bad practice to perform one random act of kindness toward someone each and every day. For me, this is the single most effective way to reduce stress this time year. It could be a kind word to a neighbor or it could be a gift to a local food bank. I like to perform one simple act of kindness each day so that when I go to bed I can say, “Lord, it was a stressful day…but I did this one act of kindness for someone that only you know about.” Let me tell you, that kind of prayer makes for a good night’s sleep.

You see, the message this Sunday is that the Lord is coming! And this event is more important than anything we could ever hope for so it is time to break out our Advent Wreaths, Advent Calendars and Jesse Trees. Jesus calls us to be prepared because he says he is going to come when we least expect. Therefore, our whole lives are nothing short of an Advent. The word Advent means to keep vigil. Our very lives are a vigil for the Creator of the universe who fashioned us. Our whole lives are a quest for our good and gracious God who alone can satisfy the yearnings of the human heart. Let’s focus more on that this year.

Recent/Upcoming Homilies


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