Be watchful. Be prepared. Be ready. These are instructions for us as we prepare for the coming of Christ. Stay awake so that you may be ready. Matthew 24:37 tells us, “As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away.”
What does all these mean? It means for us to not become so immersed in our daily activities that we forget about life after death. It means that we need to be prepared and stand ready for we do not know when the day will come when we will be called home. In the 2nd reading (Rom 13:11-14) we are reminded that “the time” has come; you must wake up now, our salvation is even nearer. Let us live as decently as people do in the daytime. Let our armour be the Lord Jesus Christ and forget about satisfying our bodies with all their cravings.
We are exhorted to be vigilant. To pray at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence when the time comes to meet our Lord. We must not only have faith in the Lord but must wait on him; must long for him; obey him, look out for him; hope in him. It is our duty not to believe the world, not to love the world but to make the Lord our God the object of our faith, hope and charity. Let our concern not be with worldly affairs that distract us from remembering that there is a God. Let us live each day anticipating that whenever His call comes, we are ready.
Matthew 24:36 tells us “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” It is good that we don’t know exactly when Christ will return. If we knew the precise date, we might be tempted to be lazy. Worse yet, we might plan to keep sinning and turn to God right at the end and that end may come at an hour we do not know. Christ’s second coming will be sudden. There will be no opportunity for last-minute repentance or bargaining.
Watch, therefore, Our Lord tells us in today’s Gospel. Be aware of the End of Time. Romans 13:11-14 tells us “And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
The Church reminds us during this 4-week period of Advent to get ourselves ready. This holy season is a time of preparation and of hope. Let us make straight His path. If we are aware that our life is clouded, it is time to rid ourselves of whatever that impairs our vision. Now is the time for a good examination of conscience. It is the time to take action, to loosen the world’s hold on us. Let us then prepare ourselves well for the coming of Christ. When Christmas comes, will Our Lord find us ready? Will our soul be fit to receive Him? During Advent let us ask this of our Lord: “Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth, and teach me; for you are God my Saviour.” Ps 25:4-5. As we prepare for the coming of Christ, let us ready ourselves for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Remain ready. Be attentive in our personal prayer. Constantly be on the alert. Remain attentive through a good examination of conscience.
Advent is a time of preparing for the feast of Christmas. We have to nourish our faith, exercise it daily for his arrival – we must run out to welcome him into our lives.
Lord, keep us awake in anticipation of your coming. May your loving providence keep us safe in the face of all the world can throw at us.
With love and gratitude,