“Watch!” (St. Mark 13:37)
This is the command Jesus gave us as we began the journey of Advent, when we began the new year.
This did not catch me off guard.
It woke me up.
There has been a lot of watching this year, watching of many worldly events. It is timely that this is the message we reflect on as we start this new year and are on the eve of celebrating Christmas. Advent is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. As Catholics we know it as the coming of Christ.
Now is the time to take our eyes off of the secular world and watch carefully the Incarnation. Over the course of this Advent season we are presented with the duality of Christmas. In one respect we celebrate the joyous occasion when God became Man to save mankind from sin and death. We also continue to wait in joyful expectation of the coming of Christ as promised in Sacred scripture. The last four weeks Scripture has gone back and forth. On one hand we must, “prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight a highway for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3 & St. Mark 1:1-8) Conduct ourselves “in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:8-15) because we “do not know when the lord of house is coming…may he not come suddenly and find you sleeping” (St. Mark 13:33-37).
So we watch and prepare.
We arrive. The fourth week of Advent. The Annunciation. The Angel Gabriel visited Mary, “full of grace!” She who had “found favor with God”. The message he relays is that she will “bear a Son” who will “be called Son of the Most High…and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Despite being ‘greatly troubled’ Mary responded gracefully, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Christmas is nigh.
Let us Watch!