First Sunday of Advent – Sister Jo Threlfall, SNDdeN

Nov 23, 2022 | Gospel Reflections

November 27, 2022

Mt 24:37-44

As we begin Advent 2022, in a world which is far from peaceful and calm our Readings call us to stop, reflect, listen, and recognise that we are not alone in this turbulent environment. Throughout the bible we read of God’s people being called back from their sinful ways of destruction, corruption, and violence to a closer relationship with God. On our journey to God, we are constantly called to examine and review our lives, as the first Reading today from Isaiah 2:1-5 reminds us. We are being called beyond our own limited world to listen to the Holy Spirit; to listen with the ears of the heart, as St. Benedict would say. Let us listen today to the prophetic voices that are calling us to face great challenges “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths”.

The second reading Romans 13:11-14 has a hopeful message as we look towards the second coming— “Our Salvation is even nearer than it was when we were first converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon”. What is darkness in life today, that we need to pray about? What will lead us to “walk in the light of the Lord”? The Gospel (Matthew 24: 37-39), reminds us that the time has come to wake up and to make changes that heal the brokenness of our relationships in the world, societies, our environment, our cultures, and our religious institutions. We need to be prepared for the unexpected coming – “the flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes”. This Advent is for us a time of preparation and readiness to meet God.

We need to waken up from our complacency and be prepared for the unpredictable future, Verses 40-41. Today violence, divisions, and wars between nations, and even pandemics have become part of life so let us pray for God’s protection and care for all who are suffering in any way.
We do not know “the day when the master is coming” Matt 24: 40. Let us pray for courage to remain faithful and steadfast so that we will not be disturbed by the unexpected burglar. When are the moments in our own lives that we need this most? These moments of vulnerability are when we need God’s loving care. We all know people who have given us support in our moments of weakness and vulnerability, people who have not given up on us. Let us be aware of those who need support and encouragement in their lives today.

Let the next four weeks of Advent be a time of hope and peace in preparation for Christmas when the first coming of Christ is celebrated and in anticipation of Christ’s second coming. Let us stay awake, get off our treadmill of constant activity or shake off our complacency and make time to deepen our relationship of gratitude with God, with our friends, neighbours, families, community and especially our Planet Earth. So may we be ready to meet God- by living in peace and harmony with those around us and those we communicate with across the world.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come and visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.


Mt 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
The Gospel of the Lord



Meet Sister Jo Threlfall, SNDdeN

Jo Threlfall entered Notre Dame in 1963 having been educated in different parts of the country by five different religious congregations. The attraction of St. Julie’s charism of simplicity, love, and concern for the education of women and girls was always very strong along with her sense of justice. She spent ten years teaching in primary and middle schools in England before going to Nigeria where she spent time teaching in primary and secondary schools. She later worked with women’s development programmes. This was really challenging but enjoyable and rewarding work. There were only 12 sisters from the British Province when she arrived in 1977 and by the time, she left in 1997 there were over 50 sisters, 6 of whom were expatriates. In 2022, there are over 100 Nigerian Sisters with 2 from the British Province She then spent two years in Zimbabwe in the late 1990’s coordinating women’s development programmes reaching women in the rural areas across the country. Here she was very much aware of the contrast between the wealth in the towns and the dire poverty of the women and children in the rural areas. Often the men went to the towns for work only returning home for short periods. After returning to the UK in 1999, she helped in the Africa Administration section of Cafod and taught English at the Refugee Council. After some pastoral work in Brixton Prison, she continued English teaching at the Cardinal Hume Centre in London and spent a year in the Office of Missio. She has added to her ministry part time work with the ecumenical chaplaincy team at Gatwick Airport. She is a member of the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission focusing on the Laudato Si Movement, immigrants, and modern day slavery.