First Sunday of Advent 2020 Reflection: A Time of Trust and Hope

Sr Eleanor Campion shares a reflection on this first sunday of Adent based on the entrance antiphon for the Mass ‘Ad te levavi’.

To you, I lift up my soul, O my God. In you, I have trusted; let me not be put to shame. Nor let my enemies exult over me; and let none who hope in you be put to shame.

(First Sunday of Advent, entrance antiphon)

The first Sunday of Advent might be called “End of the World Sunday” as the gospel is about the end times and the Second Coming of Christ. When the corona virus began to spread wildly earlier this year, some people asked “Is this the end of the world?” Often they asked in fear and distress, terrified at the thought of the last times. But if the world as we know it has to end before the Second Coming of Christ, when his Resurrection will become manifest to the whole universe and his reign will be definitively established, is not that a good thing? Don’t we say at every Mass that we look forward to that Coming? Is distress and fear the right stance to take?

The entrance antiphon for today’s Mass, using words from psalm 24, teaches us a better Christian attitude: one of trust and hope. We lift up our souls to God in openness, not shrinking away; we trust in God’s goodness and mercy. Let me not be put to shame; Lord, don’t let our faith be shown up as a delusion. Our “enemies” are all the forces of evil that work to bring us down: fear, doubt, despair; physical forces like the virus itself; or actual people, persecutors of the faith. Do not let them exult over us! In fact we are confident that everyone who hopes in God and waits for his Coming will not be thrown into disorder or ashamed. These strong, powerful words voice our personal and communal faith, and as we begin the great time of expectant Advent waiting we attune our hearts to their message of confidence and hope.

The Gregorian chant version of this antiphon (Ad te levavi) can be heard here:

– Sr Eleanor Campion ocso