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We begin a new liturgical year today and we shift from the readings of cycle “A” to cycle “B”. The readings of the coming year will focus our attention on the Gospel of St. Mark.
In the Gospel of Mark today, on this First Sunday of Advent, we will look at the final return of Jesus, his “Second Coming” at the end of time. So, today, Jesus gives us a simple, but very important directive: “Watch.” We do not know the day nor the hour when he will return. This refers not only to his final return at the end of time, but also his return for us at the end of our own lives.
He compares his return to a king who goes away for a time and leaves his servants in charge. Yes, when the king returns everyone in the house will need to be prepared and awake for that time of surprise. There were no text messages or mobile phones in the days of Jesus!
The king, of course, will demand an accounting of every action of every person in his service while he was away. The future of those servants will hang on what they did or did not do during the king’s sojourn.
As Christians, we are living during the in-between times of the first coming of Jesus (Christmas) and the second coming of Christ (his return in glory).
Until Jesus returns in glory, we are those servants who are held accountable for how we tend to the needs of the world, our neighbors, and ourselves. When Christ comes again in visible glory, we will be held accountable for what we have done with the great gift of Christ who lives in our hearts, is present in sacraments, and speaks to us through his Scripture.
If we live in hope of the Lord’s return in fulness, we will be getting ready for it even now. As Jesus said today, “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”
So, let’s heed the powerful word that Jesus gives in today’s Gospel: “Watch.”
And let us pray, "Come, Lord Jesus. Do not delay. Amen.”
Have a blessed first week of Advent everyone! May we put things in perspective as we attempt to put Christ first and above the hustle and bustle of this season.