Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert!” You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!”
The story that Jesus told us in today’s gospel, is of course about himself. He is the man traveling abroad (in heaven, that is). Jesus knew he would die soon and leave, but he put his disciples in charge of his church. Jesus warned them that he could return at any time, so be alert and watchful. This applied to everyone, not just his disciples.
If you notice, Jesus mentioned the hours of the night in his story. That is when we are usually asleep. Most of us are tired from the day’s work and other activities and are sound asleep. Even if someone tried to wake us up, it might be difficult to rouse us from our sleep. But, it does make you wonder if Jesus could return at night when we are all asleep? What if he did, and one of your loved ones tried to wake you up to tell you? Would you glance out the window and then go back to sleep?
Unless things are imminently pressing upon us, it is easy to disregard the importance or the urgency of a serious matter. We have a tendency to disregard things that we do not have concrete proof of. But, that had better not be the case when it comes to our faith. It’s possible to keep putting things off until it’s too late. Confession is one of those things that is too important to keep putting it off. So is telling your family that you love them. Death could take one of our family members unexpectedly and you might not ever have a chance to tell them what they meant to you. But, the same thing can also happen to us, too.
Life is short. Each day is a treasure that will never be repeated. We need to live it, and enjoy the good things God has given us. Today is the first Sunday in Advent, and many of us have already begun to decorate for Christmas. The customs are different in different countries, but in America, the majority of people put up their Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving (this past Thursday).
The Friday after Thanksgiving in America is known as Black Friday because large crowds of people rush out early in the morning to buy presents at all of the special sales that day. In the process, there have been people that were trampled under foot and killed, by shoppers eager to be the first ones in the door to get a particular item, before they are sold out. This has happened more than once in the past couple of years. What does people dying during a shopping trip have to do with Christ’s birth? Maybe there is a good reason that Black Friday is called “Black”.
The first reading for Mass today said:
“Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?”
This Advent season, maybe we could focus a little less on the Christmas gifts, and a little more on the gift of Christmas?