WAKE UP AND REMAIN AWAKE
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
As a conclusion of his apocalyptic predictions (Mc. 13, 1 – 32) and of his invitation to be aware of what is happening around us, Jesus’ teachings concentrate on something very practical for His listeners: vigilance. We are at the first Sunday of Advent and the Church directs our consideration to the coming (Adventus in Latin) of the Lord that we have to expect as people who are vigilant.
We, the servants, according to the Parable proposed by Him, have received power “left the servants in charge” (v. 34 a); different tasks “everybody with his own work” 34 b), and to all the commitment to be vigilant (v. 34, 35, 37).
The 4 watches in which the night was divided in those days are clearly mentioned in this Gospel and they are full of meaning for everybody.
1st, the evening is the lack of light when there is no presence of Christ, light of the world. 2nd, at midnight when there is nothing to be seen, but there is a friend coming from afar and the need of bread for another friend: confusion in the village because of the insistence of someone who learned how to pray and obtain. At midnight also some bridesmaids forgot how to take good care of their lamps and missed the wedding feast, while others had light enough to recognize the Sent by God in every brother and sister even in the middle of the night. The last watch is at the crow of the cock to remind us of our treasons or denials like Peter and then finally light reappears, Jesus the light of this world washes away all our sins.
These as in the 4 watches of the night, are the moments of our encounter with the Lord: when he disappears from our horizon; when darkness is very deep; when we recognize our sins; when we receive from the bounty of God the light to see our state.
Let us consider now some other detail while asking ourselves some questions. What is the power given to the servants, what does it consist of? It is the power given to the children, the power to forgive one another, to proclaim God’s word, to indicate his saving actions as John the Baptist did… What is the task given to each one of us(v. 34 b)? Do we know the personal task given to each one of us that nobody else can do for us? If we don't have it clear, Advent is a good time to ask the Holy Spirit to shed light upon us. What does the order to be awake imply? It is repeated 3 times here (v. 34c, 35, 37): so it must be very important. There is here the invitation not to let others rob us of what belongs to us: our real riches: we are sons and daughters in the Son, but we are so used to this fact that we are not impressed by what could fill every moment of our life with real joy.
This is what helps us to prepare for the joy of Christmas! We need only reflection, silence, wonder seeing how God is preparing each one of us for the final coming of his Son, our Brother and Saviour.