It’s hard to believe that another liturgical year begins this weekend. Welcome to the First Sunday of Advent!
Advent is a time of commemoration, anticipation and preparation. We recall the Birth of Jesus Christ while the Church reminds us that Christ will come again. When? This has been an unanswered question for the last two thousand plus years.
Hopefully, we as Christians have not become too complacent or even indifferent towards this teaching of our faith. What if Jesus did return in glory to judge the living and the dead tomorrow, next week or next month?
I guess some people would panic: “When was the last time I attended Mass?” “I haven’t been to confession in years!” “My life is not really in order right now!” “I never did forgive my dad!” “I haven’t spoken to my sister in years!” “I’ve been preoccupied with so many things and never take the time to pray!” “I really do not know Jesus Christ.”
Jesus warns us: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33) We are told by St. Paul that the day of the Lord “will come like a thief at night. “ (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
I do not want people to become fanatical like those who run around with signs claiming that the end of the world is near. However, as Christians we need to live continually in the presence of the Lord. And, we should be living in the state of grace (not conscious of any unconfessed grave or mortal sin.) Christ is aware of us and is there for us at all times. Unfortunately, as humans we do not think about this at every moment, nor do we always live appropriately even if we believe it.
Advent is here. Don’t waste the time by getting caught up in all of the materialism that the world is concerned about and sells us every day. Take time for your spiritual life. After all, we as humans are comprised of body and soul. Take time to know, love and serve Jesus Christ.
I find that when my spiritual priorities are in order and Christ is forefront in my life, everything else mysteriously seems to fall into place. I may have to learn this lesson over and over again, but someday I may finally get it right. One can only hope!
A great way to start the Advent season is to make not only a gift list, but a list of my spiritual priorities.
Fr. Ed Namiotka