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Despite the cold weather here in Ohio, the four weeks of Advent are my favorite time of the Catholic year. I enjoy so much about it; the fact that we get to celebrate the new year before the solar new year actually begins; that our seasonal color is purple, which is one of my favorite colors. Altogether I just love preparing for the Christ Mass on December 25th.
I recall a few years ago on the first Sunday of Advent at St. Brigid Church in Xenia, Ohio when we enjoyed the lighting of the first candle on the Advent Wreath. Actually the candle didn’t hold the initial flame, but before the family was able to attempt lighting it again, Father John Krumm wittingly remarked, “Isn’t that typical. Nothing ever works the first time.” On hearing his comment I chuckled along with many others, but then my mind got to working.
We turn to the Gospel of Matthew for this A Cycle of our Liturgical readings, and begin with hearing an account from 24:37-44 in which Jesus recollects that in the days of Noah; before the flood; everyone was having a great time – “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.” As it was in the days of Noah of people being caught up in their daily routine and the next day dying in a flood, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Very few people knew that the King of the Jews was about to be born in Nazareth. Indeed, the entrance of God in the flesh was very unalarming and it lacked all degrees of ostentatiousness. This too can be said about the flood that saved just a remnant of humanity. This is the same pattern that Jesus tells us will preface His coming. There will be no alarm be sounded. There will be no pomp and circumstance executed. No one will receive a text message, and I won’t write a blog about it. “Therefore, stay awake” He warns! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
This warning against any form of presumptuousness is a perfect way to begin Advent season. For, in Advent we find that particular beauty in God’s call for us to get it right does not rest in the audaciousness of His call. Many people have called others to many different things – Muhammad (founder of Islam) called people to obedience, Siddhartha Gautama (founder of Buddhism) called people to the way, my mother Gwen call me home when the street lights came on. To the contrary, the great beauty of God’s call rests not in the fact that He calls us to get it right, but, rather, in the fact that He also empowers us through every means possible to get it right and gives us the freedom to make or to not make that choice.
As it was during the time of Noah, so is it during our own time. Everyday each of us have opportunities to listen to the call of God on our life and to Cooperate with Him as we ought. Inasmuch as we may stop listening to Him, God never stops calling us to get it right.
On this first day of Advent we are being called to remember how much God loves us and how much He desires us to live the most abundant life possible. He loves us so much that He became one of us for our sake. He didn’t have to do it, but love compelled Him to, and it is that same love that compels us to be ever ready for him. Jesus is the groom that waits for His bride to meet Him at the altar. This voluntarily and gratuitous mutual love affair between them compels Him to patiently wait, and her to pine audaciously to give herself away completely to Him. This magnanimous love that never dies is what makes them both stay awake for each other.

PRAYER FOR ADVENT
Jesus, I await your coming.
Your coming into my heart,
into my life,
into my family
into my job,
into my finances,
into my awaking, my resting, and my sleeping.
Into all of my comings and my goings.
Come Jesus, Come Jesus, Come Jesus.
All that I have is yours.
Remove from my life what grieves you, heal in my life what pains you,
and bless in my life what glorifies your Holy Name.
Come Jesus.
Amen.

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Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.