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11/27/16 First Sunday in Advent - Fr. James

Advent issues a spiritual wake-up call to us. Unless we are spiritually awake we are only half living. It is just like sleepwalkers. We have eyes but do not see, and ears but do not hear. To be awake spiritually means to be open and receptive, vigilant and active. To be spiritually awake means to be attentive to God and to others. It means to be living in love.


We have two options; we can be a watcher or a sleeper. It is easy to be sleeper. But sleepers waste their lives. It is harder but very much more rewarding to be a watcher. To watch means to be awake, to be alert, to be concerned, to be active, to be interested, to care. To be a watcher is to be responsible.


Jesus urges us to stay awake. This is the first Sunday of advent. Another year has come and gone. Time is passing. Life is short, so we need to get on with our work. We shall pass through the world but once. Therefore, any good that we can do, to any human being, let us do it now.


St Paul says to us, ‘ the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon.” He urges us to turn away from darkness and to live in the light. Darkness can take many forms. Any kind of hatred, enmity, lack of forgiveness, lack of reconciliation, injustice done to another, immoral behavior - all of these are forms of darkness.


St. Paul says that we need to be people of the light. Our focus should be on our coming out of darkness and into the light. There is darkness when tell horrible stories about other people. We must not be part of the evils of the world. We need to come out of the darkness and walk in the light of the Lord.


The first thing we have to do is recognize the darkness in our lives and decide to do something about it. Isaiah says to us, ‘come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. Advent is a wonderful opportunity to respond to these words. It would be wonderful if at the end of this advent we could say that, I had left some form of darkness behind me and allowed the light to shine into some areas where darkness reigned. Then we would be more ready to meet the Lord.


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