November 30, 2014
First Sunday of Advent
Gospel Mk 13:33-37
The opening theme of the Advent readings tells us to “be on watch, be on alert.” We know the Advent season is a time of awaiting the birth of Jesus. It is the time when John the Baptist, the pre-cursor, tells us to “prepare the way of the Lord,” who the cursor or pointer is pointing us to God. It is a time of esperada y esperanza – waiting and hoping.
For what is waiting and hoping? Many will probably think of this in terms of Christmas and its food and festivities. We need to remind ourselves that Christmas is the gift-wrapping but not the gift itself.
The gift of Christmas is the story of Jesus and His witness of a poor, simple and humble life. It is the story of how God becomes real to us when we learn to say no to ourselves, so that we can say yes to God and others. Jesus reminded us that the essence of all religion is to love God by humbly serving others. This is the greatest of all the commandments. This is at the heart of the Christian faith. This is what God requires of us. This is how God becomes real to us, in our everyday experiences of care and concern for the least of our brothers and sisters. We can quickly understand this when we look at the original story and life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Is this what we focus on or watch during Advent and Christmas? We may commemorate these seasons year after year, but if our focus is misdirected, we will look and look, but we will not see; we will hear and hear, but we will not listen.
Fr. Salvador C. Wee SJ