Summary: Advent is a time to renew a theocentric approach in an often-anxious world.
Welcome to this First Sunday of Advent. Today’s Readings from Luke’s Gospel is a little unsettling.
In it, Christ seems to be describing the end of the world. Listen to his words: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world…”
That’s vivid imagery. The roaring of the sea and the waves, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Hollywood would have a great time with special effects to portray that scene. Of course, it is a scene that has been painted from many pulpits as a time of great terror.
There was one priest who was describing this final day with great drama. “Thunder will boom,” he cried, “lightning will strike, rivers will overflow, the sky will be in flames! There will be mammoth storms, floods, and earthquakes!”
A little girl in the congregation looked up eagerly at her mother: “Mommy?” she whispered, “will I be let out of school that day?”
For those of you who work for the Federal Government, O.P.M. will probably have STATUS: CLOSED on that day.
As we can see, Advent starts out with what is known as the Second Advent or Second Coming, which is referenced in our Gospel today as, “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Advent is a time to renew a theocentric approach in an often-anxious world.
Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.
Jesus would have us neither look anxiously ahead nor close our eyes to the vigilance required on our part.
Not being anxious happens by being vigilant.
1.Vigilance over self—
Our Gospel today tells us not to let our spirits get bloated with indulgence and drunkenness. We have to struggle against that happening to us this time of year. We also have to make sure that we get enough rest. When we are tired it’s hard to stay organized and keep our priorities straight and pray. And if we don’t pray and keep our priorities straight, Christmas will leave us feeling empty and relieved that it’s all over.
Vigilance also means continuing to work faithfully at appointed tasks, particularly to those in need, for Jesus' presence is revealed each time we reach out to another in mercy, help, and hope.
Advent asks us to reflect:
What conversion of mind, heart, and life is the Lord asking of me?
What events and situations in the world create fear and concern in my heart?
What anxieties or circumstances in my daily life make my heart drowsy?
How can I wake my heart to love of God and neighbor?
When am I least attentive to God and neighbor?
What does it tell me about Jesus, that he will come with power and great glory? In light of this, what should be my relationship with him now?
Jesus’ vigilant followers are not to share the fear and foreboding of His return. In contrast, their attitude will be joyful expectation. They will stand to welcome their deliverance.