Vigilance on the Eve of Advent

Luke 21: 34-36
Rev 22: 1-7 / Psa 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: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the 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

Today is the eve of Advent. The spirit of Christmas is upon us once again, and the revelry in the air is all the more telling of an economy in the upswing, with lavish spending evident in all the malls and jampacked restaurants all over the land. Surely it is during this season of “carousing and drunkenness” when we must pause and reflect on the message of our Lord in today’s Gospel. It is also the time to be vigilant. Isn’t it strange that on the eve of Christianity’s greatest celebration, such foreboding message should come from the Celebrant Himself? As He warned in another Gospel passage: “… in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” (Mt.24:38-39) That is how it will be in His Second Coming. So, to be “vigilant at all times . . . and have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent. . .” let us keep in mind the great tsunami tragedy that shook the world by surprise in December 26, 2004. Just a day after Christmas, those who perished (280,000 people) were on a holiday vacation in the various resorts along the coastal regions of East Asia. Not a care in the world, things of God, death, or destruction were farthest from their minds.

St. Paul also warned in his letter: “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Rom.13:11-14)

As we prepare for the coming of the Lord, let us temper our celebrations with prayer, meditation on 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 whose Second Coming is imminent. We do not know when He will come, but, as St. James advises in his letter, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8)

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 ready for His coming. Amen.

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