Be Prepared, It is Advent!

12-09-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

In my last article, I emphasized the reality and certainty of Jesus’ coming and the need for us to be always watchful and alert. In this article, I want to emphasize the need to be prepared for His coming especially by being found doing good when He comes. Allow me to share part of an article I read sometime back that highlights the same theme of being always prepared and being found doing the right thing.

One day in 1870, the State of Connecticut was enveloped by a mysterious darkness. The same thought came to all: The Last Day had arrived. In the House of Representatives, members were heard asking for an adjournment so that they could go home and wait for the Lord’s coming together with their families.

The Chairman, Colonel Davenport, made a short speech saying: “Either it is the day of Judgment or not. If not, there is no need for adjournment. If it were the Day of Judgment, I would rather be found doing my duty. I wish candles to be brought.”

Part of our preparations for Advent Season focuses on the unpredictable return of Jesus and our need to be prepared not only for His birth but also for His return. He’s saying to us during this season, “Ready or not, here I come.” Normally when we think of being ready, we usually think of being prepared for the worst that could happen. For instance, we put locks on the door in case of thieves; we wear life jackets in the event of a boat accident and we open bank account savings for a decent retirement or a rainy day.

Isn’t it interesting that most of us believe in preparation for many uncertainties, but not for the most important event of our lives? We carry a spare tire in our car as preparation for a puncture. We have insurance in preparation for a theft, accident or ill health, fire trucks in preparation for a fire. Airline stewards provide pre-flight instruction in preparation for turbulent weather, and we seek education in preparation for a good job. Preparation in our society is a sign of wisdom. But think about this. Of all the preparations that we make for the things I just mentioned, not a single one is a certainty – yet we feel compelled to prepare ourselves for them.

The return of Jesus is a certainty. We can never know precisely when He will return or when we will die, but His return is certain. We must constantly watch and be always faithful and ready so that we may be found worthy to share in the heavenly banquet He has prepared for us. So, the question is not whether or not Christ is coming again, or when he is coming, or even how He is coming. The point is about being prepared for His coming and ready to receive Him whenever He comes, now or later.

In the journey of life, we encounter many uncertainties and distractions. We don’t know where the road will take us; we don’t know when it will end. But one thing is certain. At the end of life’s journey, our Lord will be there to meet us, to welcome us into the heavenly kingdom but only if we have prepared ourselves. Preparation cannot be a “sometime” or casual thing, but it is about living each moment of our life for Jesus. If we can do that, we will be prepared to greet our Master whenever comes.

How can one be prepared then? If you can recall, when Jesus talks about the last judgment, He makes it clear that this preparedness would be measured by our readiness to serve the people we meet, especially the poor and most vulnerable. He said: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do this unto me (Mt. 25:40).” We have to complete the task entrusted to us every day so as to be at peace with and at the service of our neighbor now and to be ready for His second coming. So, be prepared, it is Advent!

I love you.