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.”

Reflection

It is again the season of Advent. Christmas will soon be upon us once more, that time of the year dreaded by uncles and aunts who belong to large families, and have innumerable godchildren to give Christmas presents to. Yes, every time my wife Ollie and I go to the mall to buy a birthday present for a friend or relative, we are always overwhelmed by the huge crowd of people that throng the department stores and novelty shops for their early Christmas shopping. We can expect it to get worse at the end of this month, which is payroll time. All the more so as the exchange rate of the Peso has plummeted vis-à-vis the US dollar, making the consumer index soar, pushed by overseas workers’ remittances.

It is during this season of “carousing and drunkenness” that we must step back and reflect on the message of our Lord in today’s Gospel. The circumstances that existed just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 were probably very similar to those that we are experiencing today. It was a time of affluence, when people were more concerned about worldly pursuits. In such a state, apathy and apostasy had become commonplace. As St. Paul warned in his letter to the Thessalonians (1Thes.5:2-3), “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; while people are saying, ’Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” Let us not forget 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 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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