“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
Monday, 30 November 2020
Yesterday we celebrated the 1st Sunday of Advent and lit the first candle of our Advent Wreath, representing Hope. Our Gospel reading contained the message that we should be alert and watchful. In a sense, we have been on high alert and been watchful this whole year because of the pandemic. But that sort alertness and watchfulness is often sprung from a place of fear and trembling. This is not the watchfulness that Jesus is asking his Disciples.
When the Gospel of Mark was written, the Jewish Temple had been destroyed. The Romans were persecuting the Christians. Jesus is warning his followers to stay alert for the signs of the end times. The destruction of the temple and the end of the Jewish way of life that they had known troubled the people of the time. But the signs also signal when the Son of Man will come again.
Jesus is asking us to stay alert for we do not know the time of the second coming. First-generation Christians truly believed it would be in their lifetime. But as the years rolled on, they realized a different interpretation and understanding of these words was necessary.
We are called to vigilance, to continued hope, to try and notice God in all things, to watch for the signs in our own lives and experience of God’s presence to us. As long as we hope we will remain vigilant, we will remain alert and watchful. We must guard against fear and rather remind ourselves of how Jesus has already come into our lives. We must not forget the good deeds God has done for us. We must continue to hope.
How can I, during Advent, prepare for the coming of Christ into the world at Christmas? How can I reinforce hope in my life as we commemorate what happened all those years ago? We might not know the time of the second coming, but we consciously re-live the time of his first so that we can keep hope alive.