Keep Awake

A Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent

We are now on the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year. It is the New Year in the calendar of the Church. It signifies many things; a new hope, a new life, a new beginning, among many others. Advent reminds us to renew our life.

Advent season is a time of waiting. It is a time of waiting for the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. We are asked to be vigilant, as Jesus said to his disciples in the Gospel today, “Therefore, stay awake! … So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Indeed, we do not know the hour of the coming of Son of Man. If, however, Jesus comes again, what would He catch us doing? How vigilant are we in our faith and actions? At this very moment, are we ready to face him? Will he find us ready?

Nowadays, the line between what is good and what is evil is blurred. Our perception of things is clouded by many factors. That is why our actions follow what seem to be true, good and beautiful. We do something because we find something good in it. Even the drug addicts, corrupt politicians, killers, find something good in the horrible things they do. Sometimes, we are like them. We do things which we consider ‘good.’ We are distracted by the things around us which seem to be pleasing in our senses.

This season, let us set our perceptions right.  It is without a doubt that when we ‘keep awake’ as Christ exhorts us in the Gospel we may be in a stupor, become disoriented and our senses confused. But to keep awake here is not just passive vigil. It is a time of active waiting. Advent hence is not just a time of passive waiting, but an active one. As we wait, we must also prepare. We must prepare the necessary things needed for the coming of Jesus. If, today, we are still distracted by our increasingly noisy and secular environment, then it is now the proper time to get away from them. It is so because Jesus will be visiting us at a time we do not know, at a time we least expect.

When Christ arrives, we should treat him as our visitor. The Filipino culture gives special treatment to visitors. Before our visitor arrives, we prepare everything like every part of the house, the guest room, the food, etc. However, sometimes we forget to prepare ourselves, which should be first and foremost. We should make the best effort to prepare our own self.

During the season of advent, may we be prepared. May we renew our lives so that when Jesus comes, we will have the confidence to meet him face to face.

(Von Alvin N. Manzano)