First Sunday of Advent
Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
This Gospel reading reminds me of a story about the Little Fish asking the Big Fish, “where is the ocean?” The Big Fish says to the Little Fish, “You are swimming in it!”
For most of us we do not realise that with every breath we take we are totally in the presence of God. This seems too good to be true as our human nature works to convince us that we will get nothing if we don’t work for it. If we work hard we will get what we deserve and what we are worthy of. But thinking this way is counter cultural to what Jesus is trying to tell us here.
He implores us in this Gospel to stay awake. To remain in the now. To love the presence in the present. Even as you read this where are your thoughts taking you? Remaining in the present is a behavior that we must re-learn as so much of our life is spent in either the past or the future. We relitigate things that have happened to us while being in perpetual forward motion planning for and achieving goals in our future. All the while we are in a trance of unease never fully enjoying the moment we are in.
As we start the Advent season which is a time for preparation, take some time, anywhere, be it at home, sitting in a chair, on the beach, at work, in the car or on the bus or train, just wherever you find yourself and concentrate on your breathing and being where you are. Feel the depths of the presence surrounding you. Then you will be like the little fish and realise that you too are swimming not in the water but in the ocean of God’s love, grace and mercy, freely given, totally unearned. Surely this is Good News!