Lectio Divina for the First Sunday of Advent (11/29/20)
By David Kilby
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.”
Many of us have, or have had, a pet dog who would come running to greet us after a long day. The time separated from us must have been unbearable, judging by the uncontainable happiness they have at the sight of us. He might have filled in the time chewing on shoes and salvaging through the garbage, just because he didn’t know what else to do without us there. I didn’t want to compare us to dogs, but let’s admit sometimes our behavior isn’t much better. Feeling God’s absence, we fill our lives with sin. As a society, we even become prone to try and replace God and become our own arbiters of truth and justice. This has become especially apparent in 2020. With the way things have been going this year, we may be asking ourselves, “If the Lord isn’t coming soon, when in the world is he coming?” Talk show hosts are trying to indoctrinate us into a new morality that’s the opposite of the Bible’s teachings. In no exaggerated terms, the authorities are telling many of us where we can go, when we can go there, and what we have to wear on our faces when we go. Is this the end? Maybe, maybe not. The truth that matters is simply that Christ can come back tomorrow. And at the very least, he will definitely call for us to come home within our own lifetime. Another fact is that many societies have been through worse than what we are going through now. Nonetheless, we should be watchful if only to prove our love for Jesus. What does it mean for us humans to wait and be faithful, though? It means to continue to follow God’s commandments in love. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. If you ever are finding it hard to love in any situation, don’t be afraid to call upon God even in the midst of your anger, fear, or whatever else you’re dealing with. He is there whenever we call upon him. It makes sense, then, for him to require the same kind of faithfulness from us.
“He leaves home and places his servants in charge”
A few weeks ago we heard Jesus use the word “servant” in the parable of talents. The master said to those who earned interest on the talents he gave them, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come share in your master’s joy.” Jesus is apparently bringing back the idea that he has entrusted us to be his stewards. Stewards of what, though? As faithful Christians, we have been entrusted with the truth of the Bible, and we have been entrusted to be representatives of his Body, the Church, on earth. In this passage, Jesus is talking to his disciples. Are you a disciple of Christ? If so, then you are also one of the servants Christ has put in charge to spread his truth and strengthen his Body. Will Christ say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servants” when he returns to see if interest was earned on what he entrusted to us?
“May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”
How many times have we gone the whole day without praying, without even genuinely thinking of God at all? We may be awake, and even over our head with work, chores, errands, relationships and whatever else. But if we are not actively praying and thinking of God, our loved ones, and others in our lives, our souls are asleep. “Wake Up!” Christ tells us this week. Our souls are what make us human, they are the image and likeness of God within us. This Advent, we are being told to reawaken the person God made us to be as we wait for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Lord, I turn to you; let me see your face and I shall be saved. I am the clay and you the potter. I am the work of your hands. This Advent, I give all I have to you. Mold me into your likeness so I may be prepared to receive your Son, my Lord, Jesus when he is born on Christmas day.
As St. Paul says, God will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son. Is God extolling and encouraging you to do something more this Advent? Times have been tough lately. These are the days when our faith can be tested and strengthened the most. As winter approaches, God wants to give you stores of hope to prepare for the tough times ahead. All you need to do is listen.