First Sunday of Advent
"Following those hard times,
'Sun will fade out,
moon cloud over,
Stars fall out of the sky,
"And then they'll see the Son of Man enter in grand style,
his Arrival filling the sky -- no one will miss it! He'll dispatch
the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds,
from pole to pole.
"Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice
its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer's just
around the comer. And so it is with you. When you see all these
things, you know he is at the door. Don't take this lightly I'm
not just saying this for some future generation, but for this
one, too -- these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear
out; my words won't wear out.
"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even
heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a
sharp lookout, for you don't know the timetable. It's like a
man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in
charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to
stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea
when the home-
owner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning.
You don't want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on
the job. I say it to you, and I'm saying it to all: Stay at your
Post. Keep watch."
Let's see -- it's darkest before the dawn, so don't discount
dawn's arrival simply on the basis of the depth of dark.
Presumably we are also to not count our chickens before they
hatch and so not to claim our particular darkness as the darkest
of the dark, thus heralding a dawn (thinking our peeps or crows
do any more than perhaps point at the false dawn before the dawn).
As we begin a year with Mark I recommend Nonviolent Story:
Narrative Conflict Resolution in the Gospel of Mark by
Robert R. Beck [Orbis]. If there is anything at all to the rumors
of war that will find any pretext to manifest into war itself,
then we need all the reminders we can get about a better way
The Christian Community Bible comments on "How
Christ Comes; Christian Commitment."
In several parts of the Gospel, Jesus invites us to be vigilant
while waiting for his arrival. How will he come? How can he come
to us if we are meant to die before his coming in glory?
It is true that we will meet the Lord when we die, Nevertheless,
Jesus comes to us in several ways while we await him, doing our
work and living our lives.
Our work (task) [verse 34]. One aspect of our commitment to Christ
is our commitment to the Christian community, our Church. It
is our participation in common prayer, in the Eucharist, in the
Catechesis and other similar things, and as we participate in
these commitments there is not only one but several "comings"
of Christ. We see his coming in those of our brothers and sisters
who are converted; he comes to us giving us strength and wisdom;
he comes to us through prayer, giving us the inner certainly
of his presence.
He also comes in our day-to-day living.
The prophets have said time and again that the events that bring
renewal and growth in values also bring the Lord. At times, he
comes in his resurrection, through happy events that bring life
and joy, and more justice and hope for the poor. At other times,
he comes through his passion and death.
Precisely because Jesus comes in our daily
history, we have a commitment to him to serve our contemporary
world. As lay people, the major part of our commitment to Christ
is expressed through the affairs of the world in our jobs, family,
social and political endeavours -- and there, each one in his
own way, is to be "alert."
Alert in order not to become discouraged and
to be able to resist the environment of corruption and the suggests
of the evil spirit. Alert to be able to keep waiting for Christ.
For many begin with generosity, making commitments for the good
of others but, because they do not have their eyes permanently
on the Lord, they lose sight of the goal and turn out to be mere
administrators and activists.
They are committed to works and movements but not to the Lord
himself. That is why there life is full of contradictions. For
a time they perform marvels and suddenly they fail. They do useful
things, but are not aware of the moment they should stop them
and follow another path. They do their own work, but do not let
the Lord take over their brain, their heart, their whole life.
This does not happen to those who are alert: through them Christ
comes to [all].
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