1st week of Advent: Stay awake with hope
Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44
Jesus said to his disciples: "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
Reflection: Stay awake with hope
The Gospel reading for this first week of Advent could not come at a better time. Is it just me, or have you also noticed that jealousy, envy and comparison have a way of creeping into our minds especially during the holidays? Jesus’ reminder to “stay awake” is one that is especially important during this time of the year when everyone seems to be preoccupied with holiday shopping, traveling, decorating, preparing etc. In the holiday bustle we can become easily distracted or stressed by the demands of our worldly lives. Disappointment seems to run rampant. During the holiday season it is easy to let our focus shift as our routines become varied. When we find ourselves distracted and the devil is quick to worm himself in. Be prepared and anticipate your own weakness. Utilize our latest resource to anticipate and prepare yourself for this Advent season.
“Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.”
As we walk through this first week of Advent, let us heed Jesus’ call to “stay awake!”. It’s a warning that we often read and then don’t think much more about. This year, I implore you to heed this warning in a new way. Do something different. Stay awake with hope. Become a person of hope.
In our worldly form, hope is something that often gets us in trouble. There have been numerous occasions when I’ve felt disappointment or even embarrassment for “putting all my eggs in one basket” or placing all my hope into a specific situation. I know this disappointment is one most of us can relate to. At this point I have taken hundreds of negative pregnancy tests. Hundreds. There were dozens of “not yet” adoption emails for cases that I prayed hours over. The hurt is heavy and the guilt that follows for having let hope in is painful. This gospel reading reminds us though that our hope is not meant to be placed in situations or things of this world; but in everlasting life. Everything else can be a distraction from where our hope should go.
This week, when you find yourself placing hope in situations of the world, force yourself to remember to also place hope in what is coming after this world. Christ is coming. Christmas is coming. While you may feel unprepared for Advent and the upcoming Christmas season, open yourself up to a hope that will not disappoint. Hope in the coming of the Lord. Place your hope in Christmas because with Christmas comes the promise of everlasting life.
Pray and reflect
This week, pray and reflect on the following points:
What can I do to increase my hope specifically for the afterlife?
How can I draw closer to Christ this 1st week of Advent?
What am I placing hope in currently? Is this fruitful on my journey to sainthood?