|PANTOCRATOR @ Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey|
My reflection for the first Sunday of Advent
Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is. Even as a man who going into a far country, left his house; and gave authority to his servants over every work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefor, (for you know not when the lord of the house cometh: at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning,) Lest coming on a sudden, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch. (Mark 13:33-37, Douay-Rheims Bible).
This Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent season in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic church. Year after year, through our liturgy and through the reading of the scriptures we begin our journey in waiting and we end our journey in the recognizing the Kingship of Jesus Christ, the one who is to come. But it is paradoxical that the reading for this first Sunday is both a warning and admonition to watch because the coming of the Lord is near.
In our celebration of the liturgy we anticipate the coming of Christ in three ways: (1) In the first sense, we relive the coming of Christ on earth two thousand years ago. As we walk through this commemoration we renew and we refresh our memory so that from year to year we keep our faith and we keep our hope. (2) In the second sense we are reminded that Christ will come again for the second time as He had promised, until the consummation of time. But as to the exact date that the Lord is coming, no one knows. (3) In the third sense, the end of all of us or death is also a form of encountering the Lord for as it was written in the Bible, that it is appointed for men to die once and after that the judgement will come. But the central message for us is to watch and pray.
This being watchful can only be realized if we constantly cultivate our faith in Christ. A lively faith will only be done if we cultivate such faith and renew it every day. For indeed it is important that we realize the transcendental nature of this watching. At the core of this is faith in Christ who made the promise and our faith in God who is our Father.