December 3, 2017: First Sunday of Advent
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a person traveling abroad.
Leaving home and placing servants in charge, each with his own work, and ordering the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore; you do not know when the owner of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May you not be found sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33-37)
My first reaction to this reading was that it was too much like the daily news: “keep your eyes open, be on guard, you don’t know where the next mass shooter will be.”
However, I don’t think Jesus wants us to look fearfully over our shoulders at every moment. It’s more about watching our personal conduct. Are we acting and reacting as children of God? The last lines of the second reading are something we need to hold onto: God is faithful and will keep us firm to the end. As life accelerates toward Christmas we are called to be trusting — knowing that the One who made us knows us through and through and loves us and is there for us, ever ready to help us.
Pick something in your morning and evening routine to be the prompt for a moment of reflection. For example, I pick up my toothbrush and say in the morning, “I will trust you to keep me awake and alert to what you would have me do today.” At night, “Let’s look back at today. Thank you, I’m sorry, Help! Wow!”