Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, Cycle A
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.
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
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.”
Open Your Eyes
Most homilies I hear on this Gospel appropriately focus on the Second Coming. We are asked to consider if we are truly prepared for Christ's return. Are we living our daily lives as if He could come any moment? This reading is selected for Advent, because the entire season is devoted to preparing ourselves for Jesus's Coming, both in the Incarnation and the Final Judgment.
As I reflect on this Gospel today, however, I find a simpler message. It is a simple reminder to stay awake every moment of every day for the ways Christ comes to me in my daily life. This Advent, I want to prepare my heart in prayer each morning to receive Him each day in every little way, whether that be joyous or inconvenient.
Do I see Him when my children wake me up before dawn? Do I hear Him when I hear a child cry out in frustration? Do I speak to Him when the child interrupts me for the fifth time? Do I touch Him when one child needs an extra long cuddle despite the mountain of laundry to fold? (do you see a theme here?)
Do I answer the phone when I see it is the mom who "needs to talk" one more time? Do I smile at my husband and throw my arms around his neck when he returns very late at night from a difficult work day? Do I reach out to a family member who deserves my attention but is often ignored? Do I speak kindly and smile to each cashier, server, or stranger I encounter while running countless errands? (where else can we find Christ?)
I have determined I must see Christ in my children this Advent. My too frequent sharp tongue and my sometimes stiff arms need to melt away and be replaced with gentleness. I am asking Our Lord to prepare my heart to be ready to receive Him in all ways, but especially through my children. Their innocence, their inspiring faith, and their unconditional love are the same as His. I welcome Him in them. How will you open your eyes to see Him?
'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'