There are situations that come up in life that cry out for our immediate attention and we readily heed the warnings. We know from experience that to not be prepared can lead to unfavorable results.
Over 2000 years ago, Jesus told us that he would return in glory, and he gave us a warning to “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” We may not be able to see the last day in our lifetime, but we know one thing is certain; we will all die had face God in judgment.
Today we begin the Season of Advent. It is a season in which we spend a lot of time preparing for the celebration of Christmas, the coming of Jesus in history. We look back at the event that took place in Bethlehem. It is a season of looking back.
But Advent is also a season of looking forward. It looks forward to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. We profess this every Sunday in the Creed, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” So Jesus warns us this Sunday to always be awake, read and on guard, for we do not know when he will return. It is a sobering thought.
How do we prepare? How do we stay alert? In today’s Gospel account Jesus uses the image of a master leaving the house and entrusting everything to the care of the servants. “He leaves home, and places his servants in charge, each with his work and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.” In other words, the best preparation is to do our tasks and fulfill our obligations faithfully, not in the future, but now, for we do not know the exact time. And Jesus gives this warning, “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”
Charles Lindberg crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a solo and non-stop flight in 1927 from New York to Parish in 33 hours and 30 minutes. To prepare himself for the ordeal, he often refused to go to sleep for several nights. When asked why, he replied, “Just practicing to stay awake all night.” This is the attitude that the Season of Advent would like us to have.
It is said that, “Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is but a dream. Now is the only time on which eternity depends.” Our future eternal destiny depends totally on the now, on how we make use of the opportunities of the present moment. The faithful servants, who are doing their job when the master returns, will surely receive a reward.
Our parish and school theme this year is, “New Beginnings are a Gift from God.” The Season of Advent is a new beginning, as we enter into a new liturgical year. May this truly be a new beginning for each one of us, as we seek to deepen our relationship with the Lord, and fulfill our baptismal commitment by faithfully living the Gospel in the present time.
– Fr. Dennis, November 29, 2020