Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you, I say to all: Stay awake!’ (Mark 13:33-37)
Just as we are beginning to relax a little after so many months of boarder closures, mask wearing and hand sanitising, along comes the Church this weekend with a stark, two-word message: Stay awake! The message is a bit along the lines of “Be alert, but not alarmed”.
This Sunday we begin the Season of Advent – a four week journey preparing for Christmas. We are not pretending 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 and celebrate that birth just as we remember and celebrate our own birthdays. The God who came among us is still among us. Advent’s invitation is to become more aware of the all-pervading presence of the risen Jesus as Emmanuel – God with us.
So the idea is that we be vigilant and attentive so that we do not miss the moments when God breaks into human history once again; the many times and ways in which the presence of God breaks in our lives and our world. In Advent we train our eyes to see the presence of God more clearly so that we may be totally caught up in, and part of, God’s healing action in the world.
Christmas is the time for a fresh discovery of the presence of Christ in ourselves, one another and the world.
Read the Gospel reflection for this Sunday.
Join us in celebrating at home this Sunday using the resources below.