Gospel: (Matthew 24:37-44)
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of the night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Always at the beginning of Advent the Church invites us to think ahead. The gospel contains a clear warning and a judgment, admonishing us to “stay awake.” Instead of leading us to hopelessness and paralyzing fear, the gospel surprises us with an opportunity to be prepared. Instead of floundering, we have our whole lifetime and the guidance of the priceless gift of the Good News of Jesus Christ to accompany us on our journey into the future. This is what God offer us so we will not be left. (Living Liturgy, p. 2)
There is an Advent spirit in the heart of every human person. It is one of longing, of yearning for a fulfillment that somehow lies beyond ourselves. It flows from our deeply rooted human incompleteness. Augustine uttered the classic description of this spirit: “You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” All of us long for something more, as we make our pilgrim way. Even when human sinfulness pulls people to focus on power, pleasure, fame, or financial prosperity, they often find themselves moving aimlessly, without fulfillment. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”Advent celebrates human yearning. We long for the coming of the Lord. (Maloney, Seasons in Spirituality, p.45)
Discussion: (Share thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
This Advent what are you yearning or longing for?
Lord, as we await the fulfillment of your promise,
-give us a heart that yearns for you.
Lord,You came as a visible sign of love,
-give us a heart that believes in you.
Lord, strengthen us by your grace,
-give us a heart that “stays awake and prepared.”