REFLECTION | ‘Be alert for we do not know when the time will come’

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Christians celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2017. Photo sourced online.

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 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!”
—Mark 13:33-37

Be watchful always. Be vigilant always. Today is the first Sunday of Advent—the start of the season of waiting and hoping for the coming of the Messiah. The Church gives us a time for self and group preparation. There are four weeks of Advent before Christmas and within the season, believers will be reminded of God’s love and promise of salvation. Salvation is from God and for all who want to be saved. Salvation is given by the Father through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who became man like us. This is the mystery of God’s love and in the season of Advent, we are all asked to prepare, wait, hope and always be alert to welcome and receive Jesus when he comes.

The gospel reading for today is a direct order addressed to Jesus’ disciples and even to us today. To be always alert for no one knows the time of the master’s coming. It is likened to a man who traveled far and no one knows when and what time will he arrive.

Always keep watch therefore, like a gatekeeper would do, as no particular time for the master will come—be it in the evening, or midnight or early morning. Remain vigilant, keep the vigil.

In our lives, we do not know what will happen next, what is really there for us in the future. There are a lot of factors to consider in our future, we too do not know the priorities and important things in life. But this is also a real question for us, our purpose and goal. After this life on earth, what is next? Will there be life after our life here on earth? Will life end when we die?

For Christians and other faith traditions, life does not end with death. There is more to life. There is a life that is eternal. But in order to enter that life, one has to die and gain life in different way. One may go to heaven with God or somewhere else.

This life is like a journey that has an end, and in the end, one will have to choose. It is like a master who is in a long journey and would go back to his house. As a steward, are you prepared to wait for your master and meet your master? Your master is your God? When God is there in front of you, what shall He find? Will you the sleeping steward or the alert and watchful steward?
When one waits for someone who is important and dear to him/her, one does not sleep so he/she can open the door and welcome the one whom he/ she is waiting, as no one knows exactly the time of his/her arrival and so he/she waits. Waiting and waiting. We wait for God, we wait Him gladly so we may not miss Him when He comes. Be watchful therefore!

It is good to look at oneself, especially now when the season of Advent is preparing us to welcome and receive Jesus in flesh and in spirit on Christmas. It may be a celebration of remembering but Christmas is always an occasion for us to be one with Jesus but at the same time a time to ask, am I ready to receive Jesus?

Be watchful of ourselves, of who we are and what we have. Are we doing the plans according the will of the Master? Do we follow and fulfill the rules of our master, the lord of the house? Do we follow and do the will of God for us? Am I responsible and loving parent to my children? Am I a good and obedient son/ daughter? Am I a trustworthy and kind friend? Am I a serious and committed student? Am I good and industrious co- worker?

While waiting we can still do some other things. There is still a time to do some important works and chores as part of our personal or group preparation for that special someone who is to come. The one who will arrive is important for He is the Master, He is our God. Am I ready to welcome the Master? Am I dependable steward? Is my family ever ready to receive the Master? Is my community or workplace fully prepared to have the Master in our midst?

Let us pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Am I ready to meet my God?

Do I keep alert and ever ready anytime to meet my God?

Will the Lord find me awake and fine when He comes?

Prayer
Almighty and Ever- living God, may we always be awake so we can welcome you when you come and arrive. May we always be alert and ready to see God and receive Him in our lives and in our hearts. Please keep us strong so we can bear the sacrifice to wait for you, for you alone is our God and King. This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Intention
Let us pray for those who have lost their faith, may God’s love be their hope and salvation. May the sick and the needs find God’s consolation in the people they meet and to those who helped them.