Be vigilant at all times
The apocalyptic discourses gathered by the Gospel writers reflect the fears and the uncertainty of those early Christian communities. They were fragile and vulnerable, living in the midst of the vast Roman Empire, in between conflicts and persecutions, with an uncertain future, without knowing when Jesus, their beloved Lord, would come.
In addition, the exhortations in these discourses represent for the most part the encouraging words that those Christians addressed to one another as they recall Jesus’ message. This call to stay awake by cultivating prayer and trust is an original characteristic of his Gospel and of his prayer.
That is why the words we hear today, after so many centuries, are not addressed to other audiences. They are calls that we, living now in Jesus’ Church in the midst of the difficulties and uncertainties of our today, need to heed.
Our Church today marches at times like an old woman that is “bent over” by the weight of the centuries, the struggles and the labors of the past. She is “downcast,” aware of her errors and sins, without being able to show with pride the glory and power of the past.
Now is the time to listen to the call that Jesus is making to all of us.
Stand erect, encourage one another. Raise your head with confidence. Do not look at the future just from the point of view of your calculations and plans. Your redemption is at hand. One day you will no longer be bent over, oppressed or tempted by discouragement. Jesus is your Liberator.
But there are ways of living that prevent many from walking with heads raised and with trust in this definitive liberation. Hence, Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy. Do not get accustomed to living with insensitive and hardened hearts, seeking only to fill your lives with comfort and pleasure, turning your backs on the Father in Heaven and to his children who suffer here on earth. Such a lifestyle will make you all less human.
Be vigilant at all times. Awaken the faith in your communities. Be more attentive to my Gospel. Take better care of my presence in your midst. Do not be lethargic communities. Live praying for strength. How will we follow Jesus’ footsteps unless the Father sustains us? How will we be able to keep standing before the Son of Man?
November 29, 2015
1 Advent (C)
Luke 21, 25-28. 34-36