Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

First Sunday of Advent

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Mark 13:33-37

"Stay awake, for you do not know when the master is coming"

Only four weeks now to prepare for the feast of Christmas. The 25th December will come and will be celebrated. And then what? Will anything be different? What is this 'coming' of the master? The lesson of today's Gospel is that we must be awake to the coming of Christ into our lives right now.

The season of Advent prompts us to prepare for the Feast of Christmas and, in doing that, to look back to the birth of Christ two thousand years ago. It also points to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time, extending our prayer: "protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ". No one knows when that will be, nor is it in our interest to know. Our task is not to speculate about the end-time, nor even about the time of our own death, but to be prepared when it does occur.

Hence the Advent message: "Stay awake". Yes, we look back, and yes, we look ahead, but most of all Jesus tells us to be awake now, to the present moment, to his coming into our lives day after day after day. The coming of Christ is not limited to certain historical moments, but is something that is eternally happening. He comes to us in many, many different ways each day; in the ups and downs and joys and sorrows of daily life, in the people we meet, in the challenges we face, in the good we do, in the pardon we need - Christ is with us now. Be awake to his presence.