Stay Awake! Be Alert!

“But of the day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, but My Father.”

Today is the beginning of a new Church Year. It is the first Sunday in the season of Advent, a season that is made up of four Sundays before Christmas Day.

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” The season in which we prepare to remember not only the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ but also to get ready for His second coming. Advent is a season of anticipation, and this is also a time of immense joy for all of God’s creation.

This season of Advent invites us to be intentional about being on a particular journey with our Lord. It reminds us as Christians, we are not just wandering around in this life, but that we are journeying with intention, toward a specific destination. We are intentionally traveling with God.

The second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is a central part of our Liturgy and indeed of the Christian Faith itself. It is in the middle of the Nicene Creed “we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ the only son of God…… He will come back in glory to judge the living and the dead” we will recite this as well during our baptismal vow this morning. And again, as we come to the altar during communion “Therefore, Father, according to his commandment, we remember his death, we proclaim his resurrection, we await his coming in glory.”

In our gospel reading this morning Matthew puts out a high alert just like the weather-related alert we receive on our phones or on TV “Therefore you must be ready.”

Jesus’s reference to Noah seems to be a strong warning that they need to be on guard, or an impending disaster may overtake them.

In this passage, Jesus narrated that the people at the time were so busy with their schedules working in the field or inside their houses. They were so preoccupied with their routine that a sudden change took them by surprise.

We need to understand that the people listening to Jesus’s preaching have been publicly humiliated for centuries. They have been living under Roman foreign oppression, some of their own have betrayed them and collaborated with the foreign force. They needed to be free and relieved. They needed to be liberated from unending injustices. They lived in constant threat. They long for God to come and set things right for once and for all eternity. The people want to know when this will occur.

Jesus’s warning to the people at that time is the same warning today to all of us. Noah spent many months building an ark before the rain comes, but foremost Noah primarily listened and yielded to God’s instructions.

Matthew 24:43

“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

Is it not scary that Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to judge the living and the dead?

Jesus made His coming back noticeably clear, He did not say in case or if the Son of Man comes or if by chance the Son of Man comes. We do not have to scan the news channels waiting for the breaking news announcement: Jesus has returned or worries about getting a text or tweet telling us He is back! Instead, Jesus tells us to be always ready.

On the order hand, during this time of the year, it is easy to get wrapped up in the holiday business of buy, buy, buy, and worried about gifts to give to friends and families and we lose the focus and meaning of this Advent.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, which we read this morning, he warned them to be prepared because the people believed the end of the world is near, however, they think they can do whatever they want because they have been saved. Paul said no in verse – 12 of our reading “The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put the armor light.”

In our reading from Isaiah, he tells us that there is hope, there is peace, and you must pay attention to it. We are encouraged to be the light of God in the world.

The season of Advent is about how you could be a light to the world. It is a season that is encouraging how you could bring hope and joy to the world. A season that is encouraging you to be generous and show kindness to all people around you. A season encouraging us to be Christlike, and to make this world a better place.

Therefore, how do we bring God into our lives? How do we make God more than a conscious thought? During this season of Advent, we need to continue to prepare and commit ourselves to daily prayers.

What Paul and the early Christians came to realize was that in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, something changed.

There is so much gain in inviting Jesus Christ into our lives. Imagine inviting Jesus Christ into every detail of our lives. Imagine we invite Jesus Christ into our lives by opening the window in the darkness of our lives and hearts. Imagine we love what God loves. Imagine we put the same energy, time, dedication, and commitment, we put into our businesses or career into our relationship with God.

This is the season as well when some of us might feel lonely, sad, grieving of a loved one, losing a relationship, or anxious about the future. But Jesus is telling us today to keep hope alive and do not fear. He is with you and me.

A friend of mine posted these items last week on WhatsApp

  • It’s a good feeling when God shows up just in time, but the best feeling is when you realize He has never left you!
  • As long as you feel pain, you’re still alive. As long as you make mistakes, you’re still human. And as long as you keep trying there’s still hope.

Brothers and sisters, be awake and keep the light burning by having faith in Christ. He is hearing you, He is with you, and He will not put on you anything that you cannot manage. He hears us when we call upon Him. You might be going through things that are not clear to you, but it is clear to God. Keep Hope alive and let Him into your life. When the thought of why me? comes through your mind, I encouraged you to thank God for all the seen and unseen things He has done in your life. Be courageous and continue to keep your faith.

In all our longing and failures as much as our joys and accomplishments, we are a community that is learning how to hope. God himself is making us a hopeful people. Do not give up on God and He loves you and me.

During the baptism today, we all going to renew our vow to support the baby to be brought up in the Christian faith and life and a lighted candle will be given to the parents and godparents as a symbol to be a light of God.

Every day we have the opportunity to speak, the opportunity to take a stand, the opportunity to see the world around us. Each day that we wake up, it is a blessing to wake up.

Our Lord is calling on all of us to stay awake! To be alert! For the time is now to open the door to the secret places in your heart where the light has never shined, or where light has not shone in a long time. Where there is that pain and unresolved conflict so that you can let go and be healed.

Allow Jesus who knocks on your door to come in and share His Divine meal with you. Let Him make you ready now, for the fullness of life. Let Him give you hope.

Jesus is coming and it could be today. Are you ready for His second coming?