Reflection: First Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Jer.33:14-16; Ps.24; 2nd Reading – 1Thes.3:12-4:2; Gospel – Lk.21:25-28, 34-36]

“STAY AWAKE”

It seems that the Church is not losing time to remind us that we are starting the Advent season. Advent is the time of preparation and of waiting for the birth and therefore for the coming of the Lord in human flesh. From this very first Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church is presenting us with the fact that we have to prepare ourselves to be able to see the signs of the coming of the Son of Man. At the same time being prepared means also to be able to create a space in our life and welcome Him.

Jesus himself says in today’s gospel that we have to prepare ourselves, and in fact He asks us to “watch ourselves” so that the coming of the Lord will not spring upon us like a trap. He assures us that the Son of Man will come and every living human being will be able to see Him. But being able to see Him does not mean being ready to accept Him! Everyone will see the Son of Man and in the meantime understand his/her true relationship with Him. They must ask themselves if they are ready to accept Him in their lives. To those who do accept Him, Jesus will bring freedom and liberation – from the chains that keep us away from God. Thus His presence is not going to be just for the sake of being present, but He will have a mission to accomplish – to free and liberate everyone… from what alienates us humans from God.

Jesus tells us what alienates our human minds from God. He says that if we do not watch ourselves, our hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life. Our hearts incline to do away with God and as a consequence to overindulge in food, drink and worries about the cares of life. Things pre-occupy our mind in such a way that we do not have time or space for God. Therefore the Church is trying to put us in a position where we have to decide where we stand. In the readings today we know that (i) Jesus is surely coming, (ii) There will be signs of His imminent presence and (iii) He will bring our liberation with Him. On our side we know all this, but (i) Are we ready to welcome Him? (ii) Are we watching for the signs of His imminent presence? (iii) Are we ready to receive and accept the liberation that He wants to give us? Do we merit His liberation?

These questions can only be answered in a personal way. This is the one way to prepare, or to use the words of the gospel, to “stand erect and hold our heads high” because of what He wants to do in our lives. This is the one way how we will “stay awake” in the presence of the Lord through prayer obtaining the strength that we need to survive the moments of uncertainty and doubt. This the one way to PREPARE OURSELVES to make space for Him in our lives.

“Lord, at the beginning of this Advent Season, we find ourselves lost. We do not know how to prepare ourselves properly for your coming into the world. Help us to be ready to pray constantly to make space for you in our heart, and get to know you better. Thank You Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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