Sunday, November 27, 2016

“There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.”

“The expected always happens”Benjamin Disraeli: (1804 –1881: was a British politician and writer who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (MT 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.”

“Stay awake!” Jesus shouts this to us in the Gospel on this First Sunday of Advent. These words sum up the whole season. These words sum up what the original Christmas was like for Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah, for King Herod and the three wise kings, and for the innkeepers whose homes were full when a poor expectant couple appeared on a cold night requesting shelter. Everything about the first Christmas was unexpected. That’s why on this First Sunday of Advent we hear the command: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”

Everywhere you look in salvation history—in every book of the Bible, in each of the 20+ centuries of the Church’s history, and in the life of every saint—you see this same dynamic. God works most powerfully through the unexpected. It’s not that He can’t or doesn’t work through what’s expected. Rather, God works His greatest works when and in ways that no one expects.

Mary was the holiest of God’s creatures, and is the perfect example of this dynamic at work. We see her holiness very clearly in the Annunciation, the beginning of her nine months of waiting for Jesus to appear at His birth. She didn’t expect to conceive Him. She didn’t expect an angel to appear to her. But in humility, she kept herself open to God’s will. And the whole human race gained a Savior because of her “Yes.”

Humility is the first step of the Christian life, and it’s the virtue that each one of us as Christians needs to start Advent with. Where is there pride in my life? What am I hesitant to confess before God? What area of my life do I want God to stay out of?

As we journey through this season of Advent, ask Jesus to help you grow in humility. Ask Him to make you more like His Mother. And ask Him to help you to stay awake to His presence in your life: to look for Him in ways and at times you don’t expect.

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