Sunday Readings: 1 Isaiah 2.1-5; Romans 13.11-14; Matthew 24.37-44
Be sure of this: If the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming he or she would keep a watchful eye and not allow the house to be broken into. You must be prepared in the same way. The Son of Man is coming at a time you do not know (Matthew 24.43-44).
The 1st Sunday of Advent begins the Church year with a focus on Jesus’ second coming, an event that seems even farther off to us than to the Christians for whom Matthew wrote. We celebrate liturgies in our churches that help us appreciate God’s presence and gifts in our lives. We celebrate rituals in many other places—tucking a child in bed every night, honoring birthdays with cake and memories, gathering in times of sorrow.
To not miss God’s comings, Jesus cautions us to stay awake. Staying awake spiritually simply means paying attention— living, loving, remembering consciously. Now is the time to live like Jesus. Now is the moment to feed the hungry, to forgive those we really love, to restore depressed spirits to joy. Now is the time to watch birds eating the seeds of last summer’s blooms and to let “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” no longer go unsaid. Now is the time to give ourselves to those we love and those whose lives we touch.
Advent says, “Just in case you have been dozing, wake up and be ready for something wonderful!” God promises us gifts and graces as the Church year unfolds. Many gifts will come through the liturgies of our lives together— tears shared together, ears that listen to our joys and sadnesses, eyes that appreciate the house bedecked once more for Christmas, hands that set the tree straight and deliver food baskets.
What gifts has God given me to share?