Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36

It will seem like all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.

And then—then!—they’ll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style—a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!

But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.

Gospel Reflection

On this First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year. This season of Advent reminds us to be attentive of the various ways Jesus daily comes into our lives. However, the Gospel reading for this first Sunday of Advent is a bit unsettling. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: “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!”

Jesus tells his disciples: “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and glory! Be attentive! These signs will tell you that your redemption is at hand!” He then cautions his disciples: “Do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness or the anxieties of daily life. If you do so, that day may catch you by surprise!” Jesus’ words are spoken in an urgent tone of voice. Clearly he hopes we will be alert and awake to his coming, not only at the “end of time” but today and every day.

Given the busyness of our daily lives, it is easy to “become drowsy” to Jesus’ coming. Often there is much to be done and not enough time to do it. Yet, do we want to miss the ways Jesus may come to us? If daily we are attentive to Jesus’ presence with us, this daily attentiveness will ensure that we will be ready to meet Him when we come to the end of our lives. Today be mindful of Jesus’ presence with you: in the laughter of a child, in the beauty of snow or simply in a quiet moment. He is always with us! However, often we are not present to Him!