01 December 2021, The Tablet

A sermon for the first Sunday in Advent by Fr Alban McCoy OFM Conv

A sermon for the first Sunday in Advent by Fr Alban McCoy OFM Conv

Lighting a candle to hope at the start of Advent.
Ruth Gledhill

There are two words in this gospel that occur nowhere else in the whole of the New Testament: in order of appearance, απορiα (aporia) and κραιπαλη (kraipale). The first means the perplexity you feel when your thinking reaches a dead end. Plato used it, for instance, to describe the kind of confusion into which Socrates lured his hapless interlocutors. The postmodernist writer, Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), used it to describe the absence of any overall structure to thought and the impossibility of any grand narrative or all-encompassing account of things. Luke, whose Greek was a cut above the other gospels, uses the word to describe that state of mind which will descend upon us all when the cosmic events that Jesus predicts in this gospel come to pass at the end of time. The second word, κραιπaλη, means, quite literally, a drinking bout, the origin of our word “crapulous” which means, of course, suffering from a hangover.

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