First Sunday of Advent
Gospel: Matthew 24: 37-44
Today, we begin a new cycle of Gospel readings - from the Gospel called Matthew. This is the last full liturgical Year before the Millennium and today's reading is probably not the most comfortable start we could have had!
It deals with one of our least favourite topics - the end of the world. The world is plagued with wars - and rumours of war. Terrorist attacks around the world show the vulnerability of even the most powerful nation. People feel that they are facing the imminent collapse of life as we know it. Fears abound of who will survive and who won't... And today's Gospel could easily be used to fuel the fire of fear and uncertainty - and some people do, indeed, use it in this way.
Jesus is a realist. He knows that whatever He says, people will always be tempted back to the life they know. The novelty of His words will wear off and, for most people, life will go on as it always did.
That need not be a problem. Jesus speaks of two women at the millstone - two men working in the fields - all going about their daily work. The puzzle is - why is one taken and the other left?
Is it because one is holier than the other?
Possibly - but Jesus offers another explanation when He goes on to say:
“Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.”
The ones who were taken were those who were awake. They went about their daily work - but kept alive their awareness of the promise of the Kingdom. Whatever they were doing - wherever they were working - part of them was alive in expectation of the Coming of the Kingdom.
The others were those who had allowed themselves to go to sleep. They were awake enough to get on with their work - but their souls were dull and sleepy. They had lost the sense of anticipation - and so did not recognise the moment of Fulfilment - even when it was upon them. They had forgotten their call to be people who waited - against all the odds and all the delays - for the coming of their Saviour - Jesus Christ...
What does it mean for me?
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