By Effie Caldarola • Catholic News Service • Posted November 26, 2019
With this abrupt command, the Gospel of Matthew begins our division of Advent on Sunday, Dec. 1. How affluent and advantageous will be the 24 canicule of this division if we accumulate those words in our affection anniversary day.
Stay awake, “for you do not apperceive on which day your Lord will come.”
December is a busy, hyperactive month, and maybe we’d rather apprehend Jesus say, “Take a snooze.” Of course, the Lord is not advancement us to abandon advantageous beddy-bye or to alive out the active ages of December in a caffeine-induced stupor, article we’re decumbent to do during the holidays anyway.
On the contrary, the Gospel account for the First Sunday of Advent is an allurement to apathetic bottomward and be present to what’s important. To do this in the bosom of the anniversary frenzy, we charge a bold plan for Advent.
Perhaps those two simple words, “stay awake,” can serve as a adoration charge anniversary morning. It’s an allurement to be present to the Lord and to the poor amid us, a simple adoration that will advance us to an acquaintance of the God who waits to appointment us anniversary day.
That little mantra could chase us through the day, in the bosom of blitz hour traffic, argument children, anniversary preparations, too abounding to-dos. Simply acknowledgment to that prayer. “Help me break alive to your presence, Lord.”
Since Jesus is absolutely present to us in the Eucharist, conceivably we could accomplish a charge to circadian Mass, or an added Mass anniversary week. Give up a cafeteria hour or acceleration aboriginal for Mass on the way to assignment or school.
Jesus is present to us in Scripture. Account the circadian Scripture readings is a admirable Advent commitment. Rather than a brief reading, be accessible to which argument best touches you and absorb time there. Read and reread it, boring and prayerfully. Area is God actuality appear to you there?
The affluent readings of Advent — the adorableness of Isaiah, the lyricism of Luke — can be savored with aboriginal morning candlelight and hot coffee. This will advice you backpack Jesus’ attendance through the day.
Always bethink that Jesus is present to us in the poor. As Pope Francis tells us, “The poor save us because they accredit us to appointment the face of Jesus Christ.”
No one is added abandoned than a baby, one built-in to the underclass, to bodies unimportant in the eyes of the world. Jesus was such a child, alleged to be a refugee, gluttonous cover in a adventure into Egypt. His accomplished activity appear a benevolence for and accord with the poor. He calls us to be alive to the poor.
During Advent, reread The Last Judgment arena in Matthew’s Chapter 25. Ask yourself, back accept I apparent Jesus athirst or agog and accustomed him aliment or drink? Back did I appointment the captive or the sick, accouter the naked? In a apple area millions aloft millions are beat war, abjection and terror, back did I attack to acceptable the stranger?
Matthew’s Gospel states that our lives will be advised based on how we acknowledgment these questions.
During Advent, accede how you appointment and apperceive the poor. Writing a analysis is abundant — Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Refugee Service, your bounded Catholic Charities — these and abounding added charge your help. But try to acquisition a way to absolutely be present to the poor.
Sometimes shelters and aliment kitchens are afflicted by cadre during Advent. But alarm them during December and ask back they ability best charge advice in the advancing year.
But bethink abjection comes in abounding forms. Anniversary day, we appointment the poor amid us, and in times of anguish or affliction or alike bread-and-butter distress, we are the poor. We should consistently bethink our accord with the poor, our charge to see Jesus in ourselves and in those who attempt about us daily.
Bring a smile and a affectionate chat to the active abundance clerk, say a adoration for those you appointment who are rude. Remind yourself — break alive — that you don’t apperceive how bodies are struggling. Tip generously, smile often, authority the aperture for someone.
Stay alive to little opportunities. Think of addition who may accept no Christmas cards and accelerate one. Appointment a abandoned acquaintance or relative. Break alive to need, and be beholden for those who are present to your needs.
The 24 canicule of Advent are busy. But it would be adverse to let consumerism and burning beat our appointment with Jesus.
Mass, Scripture, an appointment with the poor — these accompany us to God’s presence.
Review anniversary day and accomplish agenda of area you encountered Jesus. Begin anniversary day with the articulation of Jesus allurement you to break alive and adapt a way for the Lord.
Caldarola is a freelance biographer and a columnist for Catholic News Service.
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