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:“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.”


It is the season of Advent. Christmas will soon be upon us once more, that time of the year most dreaded by uncles and aunts who belong to large families, and have innumerable godchildren to give Christmas presents to. It is a trying experience for some people to go to the mall to buy their gifts, and brave the huge crowd of people that throng the department stores and novelty shops for their early Christmas shopping. Of course, as it is the end of the month, payroll time, with year-end bonuses and the economy soaring, pushed by overseas workers’ remittances, we can surely expect the mobs in the malls at this time of the year.

Our human nature makes us vulnerable to various influences around us. We are caught between two horns of either “carousing and drunkenness”, or “the anxieties of daily life”. Jesus knows our weaknesses. In today’s Gospel, He urges us to be vigilant in order to persevere till the end in affirming true life and denying the false life of material pleasures and anxieties. The Lord knew then as He does now that it is not an easy matter to be a Christian. At this point in His life, He Himself was going to face His imminent suffering, passion, and death at the hands of Jewish religious authorities. The time was coming when He would illustrate how it was to obey the will of the Father until the very end despite its harsh injustice and persecution.

The message in today’s Gospel tells us that during this Advent season, we must reflect on the circumstances that existed just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which were similar to those that we are experiencing today. It was a time of affluence, when people were more concerned with worldly pursuits, and those who were drawn to the faith by the early Church were being severely persecuted. In such a state, apathy and apostasy had become commonplace. 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 (almost 300,000 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.

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 fail 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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