The First Sunday of Advent
Mark 13: 33-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”
The opening lines of today’s gospel passage reads: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be watchful! Be alert!” Instantly, I began singing one of my favorite Christmas Santa songs.
You better watch out.
You better not pout.
You better not cry,
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is Coming to Town!
He’s making a list
and checking it twice,
Going to find out
whose naughty or nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!
He sees you when you’re sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been good or bad
So be good for GOODNESS sake.
Hey – I love this guy! If you sit with this song, you might hear echoes of Psalm 139, or the message of the prophets, maybe even a touch of John the Baptist.
Hey, I love this guy! If you sit with this particular song you might hears echoes of Psalm 139, or the message of the prophets, or maybe even a touch of John the Baptist.
When I was little I thought it was a warning . If I was good, I’d get presents . If I was bad, there would be presents. But that isn’t really what the song says. It urges us to be good for goodness sake. Now that puts a different spin upon the song, at least for me.
To be good … not for what I can get out of it.
To be good … not for what people will think about me.
To be good for one reason … To be good for GOODNESS sake.
To be good because that is how we were created.
To be good because that is what Jesus came to show us in the way he lived.
To be good for GOODNESS sake and who is GOODNESS if not the one we call God? We are urged to be good for GOD’S SAKE.
We begin Advent on December 3rd and Mark urges us to “be watchful; to be alert. You do not know when the time will come.”How often have we heard these words and receive them as vaguely threatening? That when we least expect it, God might call us home through death. Watch out! Be Alert! Don’t be caught unawares. Always be in the state of grace. Why? Is it because we fear eternal punishment? Are we afraid we might be put on the condemned list? Is that why we want to pay attention in life? I can’t live with that kind of threat, any more than I could live with thinking Santa was watching my every move waiting to catch me doing something wrong so he would end up putting me on the naughty list.
The song urged us to be good for Goodness sake and Mark’s words urge us to be watchful and alert because Jesus is coming to town. Jesus is always coming to town. If we are not paying attention, we miss the myriad of ways that God comes to us every single day. Maybe we will find him in a loved one, in a stranger, in ourselves, in prayer, in an unexpected blessing, in a quiet moment or even in a chaotic moment, even in a Christmas Santa song.
Advent reminds us that we wait for the Lord, and if we are not paying attention, we will miss him. How sad that would be!
Sister Teresa Tuite, OP
PS: Tell the truth -did you sing that Christmas Santa song or did you just read it?!