Gospel Thought for Today
28th November: First Sunday of Advent
Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
“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.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…”
The late Cardinal John O’Connor, former Archbishop of New York, once related a story when he went to confession to an elderly priest. The priest told him, “Now is a moment of grace. Something big is about to happen; something very big. And it’s going to happen to you. We are about to begin Advent. God has become incarnate in the human condition, for you, personally for you. God has become a little baby right in the middle of the sins you have just told me about. You have reason for new and wonderful hope.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us to keep an eye on our hearts lest they become tired from “carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life”. Such mundane activities often mark the forthcoming Christmas season. The Church sets aside four weeks of spiritual preparation called Advent to help us to slow down, listen to, and act upon the Lord’s warning. Like what the elderly priest told Cardinal John, Advent is a moment of grace and hope for all of us. It is a blessed time to recall how God fulfilled His promise in the person of Jesus. It is also an opportune time for us to progress in the life that God intended for us. Let us then take advantage of what Advent offers us that we may stand straight before Jesus, our Coming Messiah.
- How do you keep your heart from becoming drowsy due to the mad rush to Christmas?
- How can Advent be a season of “new and wonderful hope” for you?
- How will you stand if Jesus suddenly arrives at your doorstep?
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word today. Awaken our hearts from the long night of sin and vice into the new day of hope and peace in Your presence. Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!