We have all learned that Advent is about waiting for the arrival of Jesus, but did you know that it is also about three periods of time? First, it’s about the long centuries of preparation before Christ (BC). Second, it’s the years of the Lord since his coming (AD). And third, it’s about the great future when Christ will come again. What all of this means is that Jesus Christ is the centre of time, the beginning and the end. In him, the past is forgiven, the present moment is sanctified and our future glory is revealed.
So many people are unhappy today because they fail to find meaning in their lives. We do not see beyond what is in front of us, not caring what lies ahead. The true meaning of life is diluted by the culture of instant gratification. As a result, our lives are a series of disassociated moments. We live for the here and now which will pass. We do not care about what is to come, that which lasts for eternity. The season of Advent brings us back to the great circle of time in which everything is associated with everything else. Everything we do has a consequence. What we do now will affect how receptive we will be to Jesus’ Advent. Will we be there welcoming him, or will we be so distracted that we will miss his arrival completely?
This Sunday’s Gospel tells us to keep awake. We need to be vigilant against sleepiness which weakens our guard against the Evil One. If we don’t keep awake, we are allowing ourselves to be prone to thoughts and tendencies which would lead us away from God, to distract us from his coming. We stay awake by praying constantly. To pray fervently is to stay alert.