Advent is the season of waiting for the coming of the Lord. He will come but we are not sure of when and how. He comes very suddenly and very quietly. To meet Him, we must stay awake.
Staying awake means not falling asleep. The Lord often comes at night, in a time when we do not expect it. Life has shadows that lull us to sleep thus, we cannot meet Him. There are shadows of sin that imprison our souls in a weedy sleep that makes us unable to escape. Sin attracts sin. Sins pile up like rocks that plunge us into an endless abyss. There are shadows of fame lulling our souls to slumber on glorious glory. Glory is like a lamp that burns many lives. There are shadows of the flesh that draw our souls into pleasant dreams. Pleasure is like a very soft net, very gentle but very malicious. The soul that has fallen into it is hard to get out. There are shadows of selfishness in those who only know how to live for themselves. Selfishness is like a deep cave, the deeper you go, the darker it becomes. There are shadows of money that cover us in wealth and dream to be rich. We are focused much on our needs; we will not be able to hear the footsteps of God passing-by.
Staying awake also means discernment with alertness. The Lord comes very quietly and very slowly. He did not come with flags, drums, and trumpets; but came quietly and calmly. He did not come in the majesty of kings, but He came in meekness and humility as a servant. He did not wear a brocaded fabric, but simply in folk clothes. He did not come as a judge, but as a kind father, a lovable friend. He is coming through the gentle little people around us. He is coming among the needy. People were coming through shrunken pale faces. He is coming in skinny bodies. He mingled with the nameless crowd. He is in the midst of the marginalized people of society. He hid among the beggars who were trudging through the dusty streets. The person was shivering with bewildered eyes amid the flood victims. We have to be very alert to recognize Him. We have to be very awake to meet Him.
Staying awake does not mean sitting there and waiting. Staying awake is taking action. God is like an absent Master. He gives us power when He is not at home. He entrusted us with the responsibility of looking after our family, our parish, our community, our country, and the whole world in which we live. I am free to act. I have a responsibility to make my family, parish, community, country, and the whole world develop in all aspects. So, to stay awake is to see the needs of reality, and to offer our service. To stay awake is to see God’s will in the sign of times. To be awake is to know that God works in the hearts of goodwill of different faiths, colors, and viewpoints to cooperate in building society. To stay awake is to commit to sacrificing to serve the brothers in self-sacrifice.
From the beginning of this Advent, the Lord invites us to stay awake! Come out of your slumber, your laziness; break free from frivolous dreams; stop chasing lustful passions; and say no, to illegitimate coins.
Desiring to recognize the true face of Christ is not to follow the faces of nobility. Do not run after power-hungry faces. Do not run after promises of riches. The true face of Christ is in the poor, humble, and small.
Thus, awakening is not an easy task. It will be difficult for us to wake up on our own. So, we must fervently pray for God’s help. With God’s encouragement, we can get rid of the old sinful ways. With God’s grace, we are awake enough to recognize the true face of Jesus. With God’s help, we can enthusiastically go out and serve in self-forgetfulness.
Our Lady of La Vang Community