An Advent Thought: What If?
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy …
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.”
Jesus’s words in our Gospel today reaffirm the message of Advent for each of us. That is, to be watchful, to be alert, and PREPARE — for we do not know when the time will come.
We do not know. Only God does.
This is what Advent —the beautiful and powerful season that begins today — shouts to the world — as we “Prepare the Way of the Lord.”
It also asks us, “Are we prepared?”
Many assume that entering God’s Kingdom one day — achieving eternal life – will just happen automatically. Without preparation. Without effort. Without attention to the things that matter, like living our faith, practicing our faith, keeping the commandments.
The gospels don’t tell us that. They tell us, simply and directly. Prepare.
One night while in my final year at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, I and some friends were walking from the metro stop to Symphony Hall to experience the beauty of the Pops Christmas Concert. Several of us noticed a storefront window sign that read, “The Countdown is On: 22 days.” I wondered the intention of the shopkeeper, and whether they were people of faith. I assumed so, perhaps even Catholic.
There was no mention of Shopping Days. I got to thinking what a peaceful, beautiful world it would be if all the post-Thanksgiving hype centered on “How Many Days Until His Birth?”
The calendar tells us there are 23 days until Christmas. On that beautiful day, we will celebrate as a Church, with families, friends, the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, … but Advent should prompt us to pause and ponder, “What If?”
What if that day was the day we should be preparing for all our lives
What if the sign on our life here on earth read “Only so-many-days Until ?” What If?
What a world it would be if everyone – everyone – lived knowing and believing His Coming was right around the corner?
Let us use this beautiful holy season of Advent to refocus as we make straight a highway for our God, to feel the stirrings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts …to spread hope and charity… to root out anything and everything that might try to draw us away from God….to BE PREPARED and in the words of John the Baptist, “prepare the Way of the Lord.”
So that come Christmas Day, the biggest smile….the most joy….the gift we clutch and won’t let go of – is the one we have all received — the greatest gift – from God – his son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”
Have a Blessed Advent, everyone!