This coming Sunday, December 3rd, is the First Sunday in Advent and begins a new liturgical year. The Advent season is a season of waiting and preparation for the coming of our Lord on Christmas Day. The word “advent” is a Latin word meaning “coming”. This is an opportunity for Catholics to spend time preparing to celebrate the day Jesus became “one of us” to lead us back to God, and create a new covenant between God and His people. This is a special time of the church year and another opportunity for us to draw closer to the Lord.
Are you doing anything special to prepare yourself for Christmas during the Advent season? Some people will make a commitment during this time to attend Mass more often, offer up special or additional prayers, or take on a service project to help others during this time of preparation. In the past, I have tried to focus on studying and meditating on the Sunday Gospel readings as a way to prepare during Advent. I will share the weekly readings over the next 4 weeks so please feel free to share any thoughts or feelings that come to you as a result of these readings:
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!'”
On the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time we read a passage from the first letter of Paul to the Thessalonians that ended with the phrase “Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and be sober.” In the Gospel that Sunday we read about the Parable of the Talents where each servant is entrusted with a number of talents according to their abilities. The underlying message in these readings was to be prepared, be alert, and to actively put your faith to work for God.
The initial words spoken by Jesus in the Gospel for the First Sunday in Advent are:
“Be watchful! Be alert!”
Here is the same warning to be “on the watch”. What do you think Jesus means when He says “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.” Please feel free to share your thoughts.