Stay awake! Be alert! These words bring us to attention as we begin this Advent season. Benedict would say, “Be sober and alert!” The reason we are being called to attention is because this holy season matters to us who are seeking God. We are to take time to watch and wait for something important is happening - Jesus has come, is coming and will come again. Advent brings new energy, new grace for encountering Christ if we open ourselves to it and pay attention.
During Advent we have our sights set on Christ’s return at the end of time. Christ has fulfilled his mission and is now, like the “lord of the house,” traveling aboard. We have been put in charge. We are watching and waiting for the Master’s return. How are we to be during our watch? We are not to be watching for Christ, but rather to watch Christ. From his example we learn how to respond to others -- how to feed the poor, heal the sick, strengthen another’s faith. Our work is futile if it only serves our purposes, but it is fruitful when we are able to reach out to others and bring justice and peace to our world. Through such actions we draw nearer to Christ and nearer to one another.
Watch - for you do not know when the Lord of the house will return. He may come in the morning, at noon or in the night. But if we align our will with the will of God it will make no difference. We will not be caught sleeping, but awake and ready. Let us then welcome this season of Advent. Let us ask Jesus to open our eyes so we can realize how close he is to us and we to him. Let us take time to pray more fervently so as to prepare our hearts for His coming once again.
Stay awake! Be alert! By all means! Amen! So be it!