2 December 2018. First Sunday of Advent
Reflection (Sem. Justin G. Gatus)
There are times when God tells us something through the signs of times. Some of these events and signs are easily identifiable, and some are like puzzles which cannot be solved immediately. Last semestral break, I had an experience of “deciphering” an event which happened to me. I was suppose to assist in a conference where one of our seminary formators is in charge. But a week before the said conference, I had Shingles. Initially, I thought they were just allergies. But when I learned about them being infectious through contact, I was asked to stay and rest at home instead. When I had my check up, the doctor said that my immune system dropped and so I contracted this disease. The doctor told me to also listen to what my body is telling me—that I have to take care of myself for my future ministry. Initially, I disappointed that I was not able to assist in of the conference. But after a few days of staying at home, through the grace of God, I was able to recognize the joy of staying at home. I was able to enjoy my stay with my family.
In the Gospel today, Jesus reminds us to always be vigilant and remain steadfast in our prayer and faith in God. Anxieties, worries, and the daily cares of life will always be there and these might distract and disturb us. If we are not rooted in prayer, we can easily get distracted by negative thoughts and feelings in our lives. If I let sadness and regret to rule over me and sulk inside my room, I will not be able to see the hidden graces that God is giving me through that experience. In my seminary formation, I have experience a lot of challenges and trials that sometimes gets me down. It is normal to experience such feelings but what is important is that we learn to observe, reflect, and respond to the situation and see God’s graces in all things. As we prepare for Christmas, the Gospel is reminding us to stand firm in our faith in God and shun all negativities that might affect our joyful disposition in welcoming the birth of our Savior—Jesus Christ.
The Gospel Today
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”