First Sunday of the Advent

1st Reading: Isaiah 63:16-17, 64:1-8/ 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9/ Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

Be sharply vigilant!

“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”

With the help of different liturgical seasons the liturgical calendar provides a platform for us to grow spiritually. Today we begin the Advent season. The theme of the first Sunday Advent is to be vigilant. The theme reminds us to stay awake and attune our eyes, ears, and intellects towards the Lord. Just like a Dad waiting at the airport to receive his beloved daughter. Though hundreds of passengers exit through the arrival gate, Dad is so single minded on identifying his daughter that he really does not see others exiting through the gate. And he spots his daughter from the farthest as he can. Or it’s like when we wait for a dear friend to visit us and we cannot but have our attention and our eyes on the gate. In the same way the first Sunday of Advent invites us to be vigilant.

As we reflect upon being vigilant, I propose two points for personal reflections:

God shows up in unconventional ways: People expected the Messiah to be born in a palace. He showed up in a manger. People expected him to be with the virtuous but he stayed with the sinners and drunkards. People expected him to be a warrior fighting against the Romans but he willingly accepted a death on the cross. People expected to visit him in the tomb but he showed up in the garden, calling “Mary” (Jn 20: 11-18).

As we begin the Advent season, let us take a balcony view of our life.  In the myriads of experiences of our life that are pleasant and unpleasant, reconciled and unreconciled, appreciated and hated, did we miss finding God? Did we miss his calling?

I am a fabric still being woven. I am a fabric and God is the weaver. The bits and pieces that happen in our life may not make sense unless we constantly recognise God’s work in our lives and get a sense of his grand plan for us. In an alert life, we allow God to weave our lives to the completion of the fabric with total cooperation. We are, therefore, called to stay alert like the virgins (Mt 25: 1-13), at any time to welcome the groom. We stay alert to recognise God in the little things of life. Have we surrendered completely to God’s grand plan for us? What are the resistance in allowing God to form my life?

We pray for the grace that we may open our hearts to encounter God in this Advent season and take some steps to live a mindful life.

Fr. Augustine Thomas,S.J.


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