December 2, 2012 –– The First Sunday of Advent
Luke 21:25–28, 34–36
In today’s language of text-speak we have the brief “24/7” to communicate “every day, all day long.” I have no idea how many things get characterized 24/7, but the reality is that each one of us lives in a 24/7 world. Not one of us has more time than 24/7 and not one of us has less. The issue is.... what we do with it. We give our time to the things we decide, by intention or by default, that are most important.
Some people are nonchalant about time. They take time as it comes, like the song –– Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). Others are obsessive about time, seeking to “manage” every moment to be as efficient and productive as possible. Personality, family dynamics and culture have significant influence on how we view time. Our value systems and worldview also affect our perceptions and patterns.
Jesus exhorted his disciples to be time-conscious in a macro –– big picture –– context (he also told his disciples not to worry so much from day to day –– the “small stuff” (Mtt 6:25). In today’s Gospel we are warned about taking time for granted –– or being too occupied with temporal things –– and so being unprepared for those occasions when God does something truly significant, and especially for the Day when the Son of Man [comes] in a cloud with power and great glory.
As Christians we believe that God is outside time. God is eternal, and yet in some way we cannot comprehend, God interfaces with time and even enters it. St Paul writes, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman.... (Gal 4:4). Today marks the beginning of both Advent and a new Church Year. Advent is a time for Christians to reflect on two huge events that make all the difference in the world: when Jesus made his first appearance to be our Savior and when Jesus will make his second appearance to be our Judge.
In the Gospel Jesus tells us Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.... I hope that we all avoid those first two like the plague, but how easy it is for us to be consumed with the anxieties of daily life. Each of us fills our 24/7s with something, yet God gives all of us time enough to live unto him. Are we taking the time to keep our spiritual equilibrium, or do we just “live” from day-to-day as if this world is all there is? Today, as we enter Advent, it’s good to think about our own 24/7, and what we do with it.
If we are honest in assessing our time, and if we face what we actually do with our own 24/7 and why, we can position ourselves to do exactly what Jesus says in today’s Gospel: Be vigilant at all times.... And may it be true of all of us to be people who pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man. It depends on what we do with our time....