Thursday, 30 November 2017


Today  we turn to the 1st Sunday of Advent and  the  Gospel of St. Mark 13. 30-37. In  this Gospel we have Jesus using a parable to sound the alert. It’s about a house-holder going away for a time and leaving his affairs in the care of his servants.      The doorkeeper is told to stay awake.

 Through the parable Jesus is warning His disciples that He’ll be away from them for a time. If, when He returns unexpectedly, He finds them to have neglected His affairs; if  they’re asleep when He  comes back to them, they’ll be in real trouble! What is more, they’ll be losing for themselves the joy of having their master back home with them!

Today the Church begins a short season of preparation for   the celebration of the greatest event into the whole of human history – the coming (Advent) of the Son of God into our world as the Son of Mary – the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Christians confidently assert ‘Jesus in the reason for the season!’   He came that we might have life and have it to the full – a share in God’s own life. He came for our sake and for our salvation. He came to show us how to learn from His teaching and from His example the way to lead godly lives. 

By our  celebrating each year at Christmas the birth of Jesus we      celebrate the reality that Jesus continues in every generation what He achieved in a life-time of   just over thirty years. Jesus now glorious in Heaven continues to straighten and heal whatever twisted moral, spiritual sickness we have brought upon ourselves, and what has been inflicted upon the world in which we live.

Today’s parable is  telling us we must be awake to this tremendous reality of Jesus here and now in our lives. We simply can’t afford to overlook it nor can we afford to be unfit to receive Jesus when He comes. During Advent the Church is calling us to explore how significant to us is Jesus. Out of honesty with Jesus and with our  own selves we would do well to see the value and beauty of  receiving from Him His Sacrament of Reconciliation – the forgiveness of  our sins.

This celebration of Christmas is not only about making a huge thing of commemorating a uniquely significant event that occurred long, long ago - the birth of the greatest of our heroes – the birth in Bethlehem of Jesus, the Son of Mary, the Son of God.  Christmas for us must be the celebration of the birth  of Jesus,  who, being both human and divine, is and will always be gloriously alive.  What is more it is our celebrating this same  person, Jesus, fulfilling His promise to His followers, “I am will you always; yes, to the end of time,” (Mtt. 28. 20).
To crown it, all Christmas is meant to be our capturing the excited enthusiasm of St. Paul, “I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me. The life that I am now living, subject to the limitation of human nature, I am living in faith, faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me,”  (Gal. 2.20).
The Gospel for this 1st Sunday in Advent is urging us to wake up and to keep awake to the sheer wonder of the Son of God being born into our world; His even now longing to come into our lives and intimately bring His divine life into our personal lives. This Gospel is warning us not to be such fools as to take this lightly or even ignore this.                          
I wish you a blessed, well- focused Advent leading to a Christ-filled Christmas.


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