Advent begins with two very positive readings and a warning. Jeremiah speaks to a people decimated by their enemies. The Babylonians had captured many of them and exiled them to Babylon. The Hebrews knew they had sinned; was the exile the result of their sins, had God totally deserted them? Jeremiah reassures them: No! God has not given up on them. The time was coming when a righteous shoot of David would lead them, and Jerusalem would be made safe. St Paul tells the Thessalonians – anxious that the Lord would come soon – that all they have to do is abound in love for one another and thus be blameless before God at the Lord’s coming. These are comforting words, particularly in light of Jesus’ warnings in the Gospel where He speaks of dread-filled signs in the heavens and of death. He adds that when we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power and great glory, we should be ready, lifting our heads, because our redemption is at hand. Waiting for the Lord to come again is the focus of this first week of Advent. This waiting for the Lord demands that we make the best use of the time we have before He comes.