Today’s Thoughts: Our readings today present us with a few interesting images and thoughts to consider as we begin this journey of Advent.
Our Gospel today from St. Mark is from a section that is a lead-up to Christ’s Passion. Chapter 13 in Mark deals with the ending of things. There are many images of coming disasters possible, so, Jesus is urging his followers to be in a state of readiness. “Be watchful. Be alert.” “Watch!” Jesus tells all who will listen today. These are strong words which catch the ear of the disciples. They are also words by which Jesus lives his life. They are words that give focus to his mission of redeeming this world.
Alertness, awareness and watchfulness can be functions of fear, but they can also be functions of love. If being welcomed into God’s Eternal Kingdom is our final end and if Jesus’ mission was to redeem us and bring us all back to the loving hands of the “Potter” - the Creator - then we should not fear Jesus’ coming or look upon it as the final disaster, but we need to have faith that Jesus’ coming will be the final revelation of God’s creative love.
I truly love that image in our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah of God as the “Potter.” I had a chance many years ago to watch a potter sit at his wheel and create. It was a fascinating and beautiful experience. So much gentleness, tenderness, care and love goes into a potter’s creation. So much gentleness, tenderness, care and love has gone into God’s creation of us. What image to focus on as we begin our Advent journey!
In the Gospel Jesus uses an image which I think is important, but it can easily be overlooked. Jesus’ image is that of a land owner who goes on a journey, but leaves his servants, “each with his own work” to do. The landowner is God, we are the servants. The challenge is not just to stay awake, but awake so that we can do the work of bringing God’s light and life to the world. Waiting and watching, being attentive out of fear is passive and paralyzing. Waiting, watching and being attentive in faith means being enthusiastic and excited. We can wait expecting to be caught, or expecting to be caught up in our part in Jesus’ coming into this world.
Would you rather live in fear or live in the excitement of Christ? The choice is yours!
Have a great First Sunday of Advent everyone and remember to give God a little time today!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...