Be Vigilant
1st Sunday of Advent (C)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

A mother was standing vigil by the bedside of her sick child. She was watching for signs of improvement or worsening of the illness. She was drowsy and sleepy but she was constantly at watch, ready to respond to any need of her child. She was vigilant.

It takes effort to be watchful. One has to overcome boredom. The watcher has to concentrate his faculties to the task at hand. In military circles, sentry duty is a serious obligation. One can be liable to a court martial in case of laxity, especially in times of war.

Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. We are at the beginning of a new liturgical year. Just as we traditionally stand vigil to greet the New Year, so we are urged to stand vigil at the Church’s new year. The Gospel this Sunday cautions us, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life. Be vigilant at all times (Lk 21:34-36). “

What are we to be vigilant about? What are we watching for?

In many children’s mind, we are watching for the coming of Christmas. We are waiting for the birthday of the Baby Jesus. We are making ourselves ready for a traditional and emotional celebration. For some people, Christmas is a time for parties, gifts, reunion, music, and symbols.

Action starter: Do some housecleaning and heartcleaning.

We can move higher in our understanding of vigilance. We are not just recalling an old event. We are not just retelling Christmas story. Advent reminds us to be watchful for opportunities to meet the Lord Jesus in our daily life. He who has come two thousand years ago, is still present among us and comes to us today in many ways. The Lord may knock on our hearts today in the form of a little child, an old woman, or a common-looking person.

We are also being reminded today of our ultimate goal – to meet the Lord. We are eager to meet famous personalities. We get excited when a well-known actor, actress, or boxer is about to arrive. We spend so much energy and time to prepare for the coming of a politician. How much more eager should we be when we are about to meet the Lord?

If we do not want to meet anybody, it is because we are unprepared, ashamed, afraid, or feel unworthy. The Good News is that the Lord is eager to meet us and wants to come among us, even the way we are now. If the Lord is eager to meet us, even as we are, we naturally would like to make ourselves and our homes more presentable to Him.

The Lord has fulfilled His promise to come among us (Jr. 33: 14-16). May we also take the time to conduct ourselves in a manner that pleases God (1 Thes 4:1) God is faithful. Let us also be faithful.

Let our prayer be, “Maranatha”. Come Lord.