FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
GOSPEL: Mark 13:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Kieran’s summary . . . The first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year – what an occasion to take possession of our Christian heritage, our baptism, our confirmation and the gift of the Eucharist! The Gospel begins with Jesus’ admonition, “Be watchful!” We live in a culture in which we are constantly distracted, constantly multi-tasking, always busy, unable to listen to other people when they speak to us. Why is it important to be attentive? This is not a warning to look out fearfully, but an exhortation that something beautiful is coming and it is essential not to miss it! The Blessed Virgin was watchful and welcomed the Lord, saying “Yes!” to him. It is important to be in a watchful frame of mind to welcome beauty when it appears. How do we remain watchful? Does it require constantly staying awake? No. Each one of us has been given a duty by the Lord. How can we know what our duty is? It is a task which derives from our state in life: spouse, parent, child or friend. The Lord is asking us to be attentive to carry out our responsibilities faithfully. Jesus speaks of the “gatekeeper” who opens for the Lord, but closes when the robber arrives. In our lives, our five senses are gates through which we interact with the world. It is essential that we regain control over these gateways. Jesus mentions four times when the master might arrive: evening, midnight,
cockcrow, and morning. These are the four critical moments of his immanent Passion. Thus Jesus is referring to the experience of Easter, passing from death to life through sacrificial love. We are called to become people of Easter. It is not possible to love if we are fixated with our own activities. Love always calls us away from ourselves, and that is why we must be vigilant to allow love to enter at evening, midnight, cockcrow, and morning. We must be ready to respond with love to those around us, without being distracted. Often, my excuse for failing to love is that, “I didn’t know”. Love is always attentive to the needs of others! Love calls us to be watchful. Advent is a time of sobriety. May we use it to pass from our distracted comatose state to awareness, so that we will perceive the beauty that is seeking to come into our world.