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Thursday, 24 November 2022 15:06

Stay awake!

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at when time of the night the burglar would come, he would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’ (Matthew 24:37-44)

Reflection - Stay Awake!

The great Advent journey begins. The Advent readings are a rich tapestry of images centered on the truth that God has come among us. We do not pretend that we are waiting for Jesus to be born in a stable. That happened once, a long time ago, and it will not happen again. We remember that birth as we remember our own birthdays.

The God who came among us is still among us. Advent’s invitation is to become aware of the all-pervading presence of the risen Jesus as Emmanuel – God among us.

In the first reading this Sunday Isaiah captures the sense of God’s presence among his people through the images of the high mountain and the Temple – the dwelling place of God among his people. The people’s response in the reading is to be drawn into God’s presence ‘that he may teach us his ways’ and ‘we may walk in his paths’, and be utterly transformed into a new way of living (making swords into ploughshares, etc). In the second reading St Paul reminds the Romans that they are already living in ‘the time’. They should ‘wake up now’ and ‘live decently as people do in the daytime’.

The early Christians believed that Jesus would return very soon as the Lord of Glory. As time passed, they had to re-think this belief and work out how to live in the meantime, the time in between the first and final comings of Christ. That’s our challenge, too.

This week’s Gospel calls us to “stay awake”, to be vigilant and attentive to the signs of the times so that we do not miss the moment when God breaks into human history once again. The God who came among us is still among us. In Advent we train our eyes to see the reign of God more clearly so that we may be totally caught up in God’s action in the world as we wait for the final manifestation of God’s glory.

Download to read or print our Celebrating At Home prayers, reading and reflection for this Sunday:

pdf Celebrating At Home 1st Sunday of Advent [PDF] (3.12 MB)                                  
default Celebrating At Home 1st Sunday of Advent [ePub] (5.98 MB)