December 1, 2012

1st Sunday of Advent - C


Be Vigilant at All Times

In this new liturgical year – Year C, the Sunday Gospel is often taken from the Gospel According to Luke.

However, we begin the liturgical year not at the beginning, but near the end of the Gospel with a reading from chapter 21, out of 24 chapters, of Luke.

Advent begins with the call for us to be ready for the return of the Messiah at the end of time, not his first coming at Bethlehem.  That will come in the second half of Advent.

Luke wrote to Gentile Christians (not of Jewish origin) probably at the end of the first century.   The earlier part of Chapter 21 records Jesus’ prophecy of what would happen to Jerusalem (21: 20-24).  Luke’s readers knew what had happened to the country of the Jews and of the Jerusalem temple [1] .   They experienced Jesus’ words fulfilled. 

Jesus also warned his disciples of the persecution they will endure because of his name (21: 12-19).  

Luke's readers had also heard the stories of what happened to Jesus’ disciples, who failed to heed his warnings.  They were not “vigilant at all times” and failed to “pray” at the hour of Jesus.

Jesus’ warnings must have been very real for them: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.”

It has been 2,000 years since Jesus spoke these words.

Are we better at paying attention to his warning?

[1] Francis J. Moloney, This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year C. Homebush, NSW, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991p. 48.

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