More often than not the gospel for this First Sunday of Advent scriptures is read as a warning: Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come… stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming,… Stay awake!’
While Jesus’ words are directed especially at the doorkeeper awaiting the master’s return, I find it very helpful to hear Jesus speaking directly to me, not as a fearsome threat but as an invitation to not miss the divine presence in the midst of the routines and demands, the ups and downs of my daily life.
We tend to think of a coming of Jesus as being a sudden and unexpected interruption, a random and one-off event, on the hop, nervous and unprepared.
But such a reading suggests a God who is putting us to trial, trying to catch us out by setting a test we are likely to fail.
What kind of God is this? Certainly not the God who in Jesus Christ embraces sinners, and gently invites us to live in relationship with him in every moment.
Instead this invitation is most often offered not as a sudden shock but as a gentle emergence in every breath and in every circumstance.
This invitation is an opportunity which a weary doorkeeper welcomes. The waiting is over! The Master has returned at last! Thanks be to God!
Be attentive today to the presence of Jesus in every moment, every breath, every conversation, every interruption. You will be surprised at how even the unwelcome encounters and experiences become opportunities for greater maturity in your relationship with Jesus who is God-with-us.
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