First Sunday of Advent: Today's Readings
We enter into Advent this year with a phrase that many of us have been used to hearing for a few months, "Be watchful. Be alert." Whether it's our governors, our family members, friends or employers, we've been bombarded with messages of "Be on guard!" These reminders can cause a hypervigilance to the point of anxiety or desensitize us to the risks.
I suspect Jesus' disciples likely experienced a similar dichotomy. Can you imagine Thomas trying to stay awake every night, anxiously watching for the coming of the Kingdom? Perhaps another listener thinks it's another one of Jesus' parables and is putting off becoming a disciple until it's really time.
In both situations, I believe we are called to have a healthy awareness of our situation; in other words, we are called to act prudently.
Today's Gospel is a wake-up call for the areas of our lives that may have gone dormant or may be at risk of falling asleep in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps we need to "keep watch" on our eating habits, our budget or our daily prayer rituals. Family stressors may make it difficult to act with kindness or generosity. Maybe our anger flares up or we slack on our spiritual practices.
Today, spend some time in reflection on how you would like to spend your Advent and Christmas seasons. What areas of your life do you want to "keep watch" of?