The Gospel for today, the first Sunday of Advent, calls the disciples, and us, to attentiveness, to be prepared for ‘the time’: the time when the Lord will come.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your 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!’
And when will that time be? In a sense it was – when Jesus was born and lived his life in Palestine, a faithful Jew. In a sense it is still to come – at the end of Days, when he will come again. In a sense it is now – for we can know and experience the real presence of the Lord here and now in the word, in the sacraments, in the Church.
What is in doubt is not the Lord’s presence, but our attentiveness to the Lord’s presence. Thus the call to ‘stay awake’.
- This Advent look out for the presence of the Lord, for signs of his working his purpose out.
- Notice whether or not you and others are ‘awake’ to these signs
- Give thanks for all that is good and right, and drawing you and others to holiness.
- Pray for God’s mercy and patience when it seems you and others are or have been asleep to these works of grace.
This Sunday the Church’s New Year begins, Year B in the cycle of Sunday Readings, often known as the Year of Mark, for most of the Gospel readings on Sunday in this year, come from Mark’s Gospel. The photograph is of a detail of the great reredos at the Church of San Jeronimo, Granada, Spain, and shows St Mark writing his Gospel, accompanied by his traditional symbol of the lion. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.