Stay Awake!

November 27, 2016
First Sunday of Advent
The Gospel Today
Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura)

The Gospel reading for today brings me to the awareness that God wants my whole life, not just part of it. It is not enough to give just so much time and attention to God and keep the rest for myself. As I try to understand why I am still so restless, anxious, and tense even as a seminarian, it occurs to me that I have not yet given everything to God. I notice this especially in my greediness for time. I am very concerned to have enough time to develop my ideas, finish my reflection papers, and fulfill my duties. Thus, my life is in fact divided into two parts, a part for God and a part for myself.

I know for sure that there is a long, difficult journey ahead of me. It is the journey of leaving everything behind for Jesus’ sake. Every time I pray, I feel the struggle. It is the struggle of letting God be the God of my whole being. It is the struggle to trust the faithfulness of the Lord.

As I always stare on the poster of the Merciful Father in our seminary chapel, I imagine myself in the embrace of the father, and yet I feel a certain resistance to be embraced so fully. I realize that I have not only a desire to be embraced, but also a fear of losing my independence. I have never really given the Father a chance to show me his boundless love and unquestionable faith.

Staying awake is important in the life of a seminarian. It is by surrendering ourselves completely to our ever-faithful God can we expect to be free from endless distractions, to be able to recognize our own unique call, and prepare for the coming of the Son of Man. This 1st Sunday of Advent invites us to prepare for the coming of Christ by keeping our love and charity awake in the midst of the busyness and complexities of daily life.

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