“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13: 32).

On this first Sunday of Advent, Mark reminds us to be prepared for Christ’s return. Therefore, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33).

The next 25 days of Advent are an opportunity to reflect on what we are doing to stay watchful:  “Behold, I am coming soon. I will bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds” (Revelation 22:12). What is our relationship with God? Are our thoughts, actions, and words inviting Jesus to come into our lives? (cf. Rev 22:20) How are we loving God and our neighbors? (cf. Luke 10:27) Are we aware of our shortcomings? What steps are we taking to improve our faith, hope, and love? (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:13) Have we served others with corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

Advent is a chance to ask God with hopeful hearts: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:4). With the armor of God’s grace, we can draw strength from the Lord and stand firm against the darkness and evil of the world      (cf. Ephesians 6: 10-13).

We ought to rejoice during the Advent season with Paul’s words to the Corinthians in the second reading:

“…for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4-7).

On Christmas Day, we celebrate our Savior’s first coming, his Nativity, and his Incarnation. A joyful occasion indeed, but one gravely incomplete if we fail to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

This Advent season, let us ponder our watchfulness. Let us keep in mind Isaiah’s words: “You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer…we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hands” (Isaiah 63:16; 64:7).

– God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.

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