The Unexpected Hour

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FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
(Violet) Cycle A/Year I (November 27, 2017)
Is 2:1-5/Rom 13:11-14/Mt 24:37-44

William Barclay, a famous biblical scholar recounts a fable which tells of three apprentice devils who were coming to this earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils, about their plans to tempt and ruin men. The first said, “I will tell them there is no God.” Satan said, “That will not delude many, for they know that there is a God.” The second said, “I will tell men there is no hell.” Satan answered, “You will deceive no one that way; men know even now that there is a hell for sin.” The third said, “I will tell men there is no hurry.” “Go,” said Satan, “and you will ruin them by the thousand.”

The most common error of every human person is that we have plenty of time and therefore there is no need to hurry. This is experienced by students who, instead of studying or preparing for the lesson, assignment or exam, delay their study because they think there is still plenty of time. They can study tomorrow. Office workers do the same when they put off some works for tomorrow because they think they have plenty of time. Finally, when the time comes, they are caught unprepared for their exams or report.

The Jews were waiting for the coming of the Messiah for thousands of years and because of that, they were accustomed to waiting. They believed that they had ample time to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. When the Messiah arrived, they did not recognize Him in the person of Jesus Christ. In the same way, we Christians are waiting for the second coming of Jesus and we have been waiting for His return for two thousand years already. We are accustomed to waiting and for this reason we think that we have plenty of time to prepare for His coming. We believe that He will come tomorrow and not today. But the truth is that we do not know when the hour of His coming is.

The gospel for this Sunday warns us that Jesus Christ will arrive in the unexpected hour. He already said in the bible that nobody knew when would be the end of the world and that only God knows the hour of judgment. For this reason, the message of the gospel is clear: “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Mt 24:42).

To stay awake means to be always prepared for the coming of Jesus. This simply entails that we have to fulfill the will of God and the teachings of Jesus everyday of our lives. We must be faithful to the teachings of the bible summarized by Jesus into two precepts: love for God and love for neighbor. It is not enough to only love God. We have to love our neighbor especially the needy because God became man and lived as a poor person. God identified Himself with the poor so much so that Jesus said that whatever we do to the least, we do it to Him. Genuine love for God must be manifested through our service to the needy. To be prepared then simple means to help generously and to be charitable to the beggars, the sick, the victims of injustice, the homeless, the disable, and those rejected and forgotten by our society.

Jesus Christ will come to us this Christmas. As we begin this advent season, let us empty ourselves of the things and activities that hinder us from loving God purely and wholeheartedly, and let us prepare to accept Jesus in our hearts by recognizing Him in the face of the needy.