Pmrepare to listen. Light the 1st purple candle and pray: Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation. (Ps 25:5)
Read: Luke 21:29-36
Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 34‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’
It’s easy, too easy to read these words of Jesus and get into the game of speculation, trying to determine an exact date for these events. Or, we spend time observing ‘signs’ and wondering if they’re the signs that mean the end is near. But this isn’t what Jesus expects from his followers. Our concern ought to be on our behavior and our relationships with others and not on speculating when this will happen. Therefore, Jesus calls us, first, to be on guard. There is much in our world that will lead us astray from the Way of Jesus if we let it, if our hearts become weighed down with the wrong stuff—dissipation, drunkenness and worries of this life. If the first two don’t apply to you, the third, worry, probably does. Worry that things in the world aren’t encouraging; worry about personal events; worry about worrying. Be on guard and return to Jesus’ message that his words will not pass away, no matter what’s happening around you or to you.
Second, he calls us to be alert. Know what’s happening and don’t worry! How? Through prayer and prayer alone. The sort of prayer that seeks to be still in the presence of our Lord; the sort of prayer that helps us stand before Jesus, knowing before whom we stand, the One in control of all things, including nations and rulers, natural disasters and financial crises, health and sickness.
Advent is a reminder that we must remain “alert, vigilant and industrious, so that his coming will not be a terror but an overwhelming joy,” writes J. B. Philips.
Name some of your worries today. Offer them to Jesus in prayer and stand firm.
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Jesus, here are some of my today’s worries. I now leave them with you and ask for help to keep alert and on guard all day so that I stand firm before you as I await the celebration of your coming into the world as our redeemer and king. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world, standing on guard and being alert.