Jesus said to his disciples: Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
This weekend is the first Sunday of Advent. For Christians it is the four-week season when we prepare for the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ and his birth. We all know the Christmas story of the Christ-child being born to a young girl and earthly father in a humble barn or manger. This is not how the Jews imagined their savior and redeemer to come. It is interesting that the gospel reading foretells of the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. This narration is very similar to the gospel from Mark two weeks ago. Jesus is telling his friends to stay sober and awake. In Luke 21, he warns his followers to not ignore the signs but to pray. Everyone has their own prayer life. Some are daily Mass-goers, some weekly, some when it's convenient. Many will pray when they remember and when it is convenient. Jesus is emphasizing to us that we should be always vigilant, not just for an hour or two on Sunday, but every day. He warns us not to become drowsy by sin, or even of the anxieties of the world. The world dictates to many of us to work longer hours and make more money. We become stressed, tired from the overtime, then have to run all over town to satisfy other obligations that are not in line with our faith. Our priorities have become out of wack. God should always be first, then family, then work. Society also dictates that Advent is a time for Christmas parties, shopping, and overspending. Instead of society dictating your life this advent season, why not do a self-assessment of what your priorities are vs. what they should be. Spend these next four weeks improving your prayer life. This will be the best gift you can give yourself, you family and to God.