On the Eve of Advent

Luke 21: 34-36
Rv 22: 1-7 / Ps 95: 1-7

Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:36)

Come let us sing in jubilation
To the Rock of our salvation;
But for Him let us also prepare
In works of charity and prayer.

Jesus said to His disciples: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Reflection

The season of Advent is here. Christmas is once again just around the bend, the time of year that we, uncles and aunts who have innumerable godchildren to give Christmas presents to always seem to dread. But today’s Gospel reminds us that this should be the least of our worries and fears. It is during this season of “carousing and drunkenness” that we must be vigilant instead, and prepare to face the inevitable adversities of the coming year. The profligacy of previous years is now beginning to take its toll in the bankruptcies of once formidable banking and insurance institutions, resulting in what they call a global economic meltdown. The present circumstances must have been similar to the situation in Jerusalem just before its destruction by the Romans in A.D. 70. It was a time when people were more concerned with worldly pursuits, and those who were in the faith were being persecuted. In such a state, apathy and apostasy had become commonplace.

Let us heed the words of St. Paul, who wrote: “You know very well that the day the Lord comes again will be like a thief who comes at night. When people are saying, ‘We have peace and are safe,’ that is the time when sudden destruction comes to them, like the pains of a woman who is having a baby. And they will not be able to escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not living in darkness. And so that day will not surprise you like a thief. You are all people who belong to the light (goodness). You belong to the day. We don’t belong to the night or to darkness (evil). So we should not be like other people. We should not be sleeping. We should be awake and have self-control” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).

As we prepare for the coming of the Lord, let us temper our celebrations with prayer, meditation of God’s Word, and charity towards the poor, which never fails to make this season more meaningful. These are what will put us in good standing before the Son of Man when we come before Him in judgment.

Father God, on this eve of Advent, please let Your Holy Spirit keep us vigilant and prayerful, well prepared for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, for it is during times of celebration that we become complacent and vulnerable to the temptation of the evil one. Help us, Father, to be worthy of His coming. Amen.

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