1st Sunday of Advent: LUKE 21: 25-28, 34-36.
The essence of the task of Advent is to stay awake, to be urgently ready and attentive to what is most important. Not to be caught up in things that have no genuine meaning, like superficial shopping.
A Zen Master once said, “We should live each day, each hour in the same frame of mind as that of a man falling from a horse.”
This serious attentiveness is aimed at the coming of Christ – and his kingdom – to our world.
As we start a new church year, we do so with the Gospel of Luke as our guide. Luke is the chronicler of how the Good News of Jesus spread as fast as, well, a pandemic, of a Christ found along the margins of society. And we begin with Luke, the message today is first to stay alert, to look deeply and widely, and never to be self-satisfied.
The late Trappist monk Thomas Merton once described Advent as “the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ.” By our awareness and our readiness, we equip ourselves for that great work this Advent. Not only that, we gain a confidence and hope in tribulation that is the fruit of such vigilance.