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.”
Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2022
For three of the four Sundays of Advent, our second reading will be from St. Paul’s “Letter to the Romans.” We have read this letter together many times and indeed spent an entire summer on one section. You may find our introduction to the Letter to the Romans helpful. We need only note now that Paul as a Roman citizen could not be executed as cavalierly as a non-citizen. He was being sent to Rome as a prisoner to be tried by the Emperor. The Roman prison system was somewhat haphazard, and a well-connected detainee could arrange for what would amount to house arrest. Paul needed the help of the Roman Church to do this, but he had become very controversial. This letter was at least in part his attempt to show that he was, in our terms, an orthodox believer and a stable person. It is a great gift to us because it provides Paul’s clearest attempt to present his teachings in an orderly manner.
The passages that we will read for the next two weeks are Paul’s comments on the return of Jesus and the establishment of the kingdom. This is fitting for the Advent season. Advent means “arrival or coming” We immediately think of Christmas, but the liturgy of the church focuses on this for only the last week of Advent. Until December 16, the readings and prayers look at the consequences of the return of the Lord.