“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:34-36)
For the past few weeks, we have been reflecting upon the end of time. We have been warned that the Son of Man would come like a thief in the night and that we needed to be ready so that we would not be caught unaware. Those readings were being given to us because we were approaching the end of the liturgical year.
This weekend, we begin anew. The First Sunday of Advent heralds a new year, a new hope, a new promise, and a new opportunity. However, the new year begins as our old year ended: “Beware”.
We often become so focused upon ourselves that we fail to see the bigger picture. We turn our thoughts inwards and, in the process, miss the people all around us. We fail to see the plight of the poor, the pain of the suffering and sorrowing, and the emptiness of the lonely. We even fail to see the needs of our own loved ones when we focus too closely upon ourselves.
Today gives us the opportunity to change. In remaining vigilant, we will see the needs of others and be able to provide for them.
As we do at the beginning of a new calendar, we are invited to do this weekend. Make spiritual resolutions so that this new liturgical year may be one of profound growth.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has declared a Year of Mercy. Perhaps our first resolution could be to embrace the mercy of God completely. Seek His mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Give His mercy to those who have hurt you. Be merciful as He is merciful. Doing so will practically guarantee that we will never be caught unaware.
FAITH ACTION: Is there someone in your life who could use some mercy? Make a true effort to forgive.