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Molly CahillDecember 01, 2023
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Find today’s readings here.

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.” (Lk 21:34-35)

If Jesus knocked on your door today, how would you want to respond?

If I’m honest with myself, I know I’m not ready to greet him with the kind of openness and preparedness I’d like to—and not just because my apartment is a mess and I have about a million and one tasks languishing on the to-do list.

Tomorrow begins the season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas when we prepare for the coming of Christ. In today’s Gospel, we hear a reminder to stay alert so the day doesn’t catch us by surprise.

On our church calendar, we know the day that marks the coming of the Lord, and we have several weeks designated specifically for getting ready. But at the time of Christ’s birth, and in the situations in which he might enter into our lives today, we don’t have that kind of warning or runway. What can the practices and Scriptures of Advent teach us about that?

No matter how unprepared and flustered we might be, the hymns and prayers of this season ask Christ to come into our midst.

I think an imaginative exercise in which we imagine his knock at the door can be a helpful one. If I encountered Jesus face-to-face, what would I say? How would I want to present myself, my home, my community? Would I feel good about the things I had to share with him about the daily goings-on of my life as of late? If we take a few minutes to imagine the way that meeting would look, sound and feel, we get a pretty good gut check about just how ready we are for the arrival we’ll celebrate in just a few weeks.

Another part of Advent’s preparation is, of course, an outright invitation. No matter how unprepared and flustered we might be, the hymns and prayers of this season ask Christ to come into our midst. A part of being ready for his arrival is cultivating a genuine desire for it, instead of a hope that we might push it off for a bit more time so we can do more preparation work in advance. As today’s Scripture warns, “the anxieties of daily life” can keep us from looking down the path to make out the figure of Christ coming toward us.

May we envision Christ in our lives, in our space, in our families. And may we ask him to get on his way, letting him know we are happily waiting for his arrival.

More: Scripture

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