Are we prepared?

3 December, 2023 1st Sunday Advent Year B

Listen to reflection

When travelling, especially overseas, many people spend a good amount of time in preparation. There may be a trip to the doctor, dentist, pharmacy, the supermarket and even the hairdresser. Calls to insurance companies regarding travel and medical cover, requests to neighbours and family members to keep an eye on the house, the dog, the cat … the list goes on.


Much of the preparation goes into ensuring that when we do leave, there is peace of mind knowing that everything possible has been done. There could also be a last-minute momentary panic. Just as the plane is about to take off, or when the ship is about to leave port, the thought crosses your mind; have I left the kitchen light on?


We hear this in today’s gospel. Mark is encouraging his faith community to continue living their lives as best they can in preparation for the second coming of Christ. When Jesus ascended into heaven after Good Friday and Easter Sunday, a lot of the early disciples and followers were left with the impression that Jesus would come back sooner rather than later to usher in a new era of God’s Kingdom.


Hence, there was a lot of urgency in the early writings of the early faith communities to encourage one another not to lose faith, not to fall by the wayside and to continue to live their lives in accordance with the teachings of Christ. In other words, to maintain their faith and peace of mind.


For us in the 21st century and reading the words of the gospel, the circumstances of our faith and our journey maybe somewhat different from those early communities in Mark’s time. However, the overarching message of being ready and prepared remains the same.


Advent is a ‘reminder’ time to do our best each day to follow in the footsteps of Christ and loving God and loving our neighbour. To take the journey of the path less travelled. To go against the grain of a world that promotes greed, power, and a focus on the self over others. To have hearts that are open to the mystery of God in our lives, in the lives of others and in the wider world, despite all the uncertainties, doubts, anxieties and even fears around us.


Advent is when we begin to prepare for what is to come: When we plant our faith firmly in God’s truth so we can better face up to the delays, the unexpected side trips and dark pathways that our lives can unexpectedly take.


And that truth is that God so loved the world that God gave his only Son to be born as one of us. So let us stay awake and be witnesses to the wonder of God’s love that is continuously at work around us as it was then, as it is now, and as it will be for all time.


Mark Chia CSsR

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