Jesus offers a parable to remind us to be steadfast and alert, ready to respond at any moment to God’s call in our lives.
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We begin the season of Advent with a message that is both joyful and sobering, hopeful and disciplined: The Lord, the just judge is coming into the world…so be prepared, awake and ready!
There are many ways to get ready for Advent, but one place to begin is at home. Consider entering into this holy season by examining where you live and determining if it is ready for Jesus Christ.
Study: Recall a time when your faith was tested. How did you respond?
Pray: Are you or a loved one going through a difficult time right now? Pray for the wisdom and strength that comes from faith.
Serve: How can you help someone grow in their faith today? How can you help another grow closer to Jesus Christ?
The readings focus on different aspects of faith this week:
- 1st Reading – The people put their faith in God at the time of the Passover
- Psalm – “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”
- 2nd Reading – The faith of Abraham inspires our faith
- Gospel – Be ready, vigilant and prepared for the treasures of heaven
When we stop and think about it, we are blessed in many, many ways: life, education, family, friendship, health, opportunity, and…faith. What a gift it is to know God and to be given the sacraments and teaching of the Church to help us encounter the Lord!
But sometimes we can take our gifts for granted. We start to assume that these blessings will always be there, that life will always be smooth and steady, or that if we do the right things then nothing bad will ever happen to us.
Today we are reminded that the gift of faith requires constant vigilance. We live each day, each moment, with the conviction that we are pilgrims passing through this world…with our eyes set on the Kingdom of Heaven. We foster our relationship with the Lord through daily prayer, frequent reception of the Sacraments, hearing the Word of God, and fellowship with one another.
May we foster our faith and be ready today…for the Lord will come, at an hour we do not expect.
Study: Recall a couple of times in your life – when you were prepared and when you were caught off guard. How did if feel? What was the outcome?
Pray: Do you have unfinished business in your life? Take your challenges to prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom and courage.
Serve: Is there a broken or wounded relationship in your life? Perhaps you might make the first move to bring healing and reconciliation to the situation.
The first reading and the Gospel today are direct and to the point: there will be hardship and distress. Tribulation is part of the journey. Get ready!
And yet we can sometimes get caught in the (mistaken) sentiment that because we follow Jesus Christ everything is suppose to be sunshine and daisies. On the contrary – our faith puts struggle front and center, reminding us that we are called to be ready and prepared for the unexpected. Because just in case you were hoping for some secret sign from the Bible when the world will end, Jesus offers one of my all-time favorite lines of Sacred Scripture:
“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
No one knows the hour….this is a very big deal. Remember these points:
- Difficulty, hardship, tribulation, and suffering are part of life.
- The unexpected happens! Deal with it.
- And we do not know the hour when our lives will be over…
So how do we live? The answer is simple – TODAY we speak and act so that if the Lord called us right now we would be ready. TODAY we say:
- “I’m sorry.”
- “I forgive you.”
- “I love you.”
- “Can I help you?”
- “Can you help me?”
We live our lives one day at a time – we can’t go back and we can’t go forward – it is only in the present moment that we can do and say. Thus, if we stay shackled to the past we can’t live today, and if we keep putting off what is needed we are wasting the moment we have. TODAY is our opportunity to address any unfinished business, to right wrongs and tell the people in our lives how we feel about them. In other words, today we squeeze out every opportunity we have to love the Lord and one another…
…for of that day or hour, no one knows.