33Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. 35Watch, therefore; 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. 36May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life.” ~ Jesus in v. 34
It is unfortunate enough that Advent is a short liturgical season: four weeks. Coupled with the societal reality of distractions around Christmas, this rich season that is utterly important in life is easy to miss.
Advent is a time of anticipating the parousia, the second coming. Preparation includes personal reflection and assessment: What is it that I am preparing for and what is the current state of my own preparedness. Last Sunday's (Christ the King, Year A) parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) illustrates an example of people unprepared. Only at the time of judgment are they asking "When was it that we did not take care of you?" It is a question that one needs to ask oneself early in and throughout life on earth, not at the end of it. Today's gospel wisely reminds us to be prepared.
The first reading today (Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7) offers seeds for reflection to help prepare not only for the parousia but also for the initial welcome of the Christ into one's heart, if one has not yet gone through that faith experience. The seeds can also guide self- assessment vis-à-vis what our faith demands of us:
Am I ever in awe of the goodness of God? Have I become blasé, unconcerned about the deeply intimate relationship that I ought to have with God?
Is my heart open to compassion, sensitive to the needs of others?
Has it become immovable and hardened on account of selfishness and cynicism?
Do I live a life ever mindful of God's ways? Do I allow the Lord, my God, to be a true father to me, to be the potter who molds me and gives shape to my entire life?
And so we pray: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Deacon Ricardo I. Santiago
Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica – Ottawa
Our heartfelt thanks to my friend and former colleague, Deacon Ricardo I. Santiago, for agreeing to write the Sunday reflections this Advent.
Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarroabel.blogspot.com/).