I have never gotten too caught up in end times speculation. In His long answer to the disciples’ question, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mt 24:3) Jesus includes these words:
But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,* but the Father alone.Mt 24:36
Jesus words here have always been sufficient for me.
Quite some years ago, a Catholic preacher’s words made an impression on me that I will never forget: We don’t know when the end of the world will arrive, but we know the end of our time in this world most assuredly will come; so, be prepared! Would it be that we all live our lives with that thought in mind.
All that being said, I was struck by today’s Gospel (Lk 21:25-28, 34-36), especially the following verses:
Beware that your hearts do not become drowsyvv. 34-35
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
The Lord’s first two examples are not surprising, but He adds daily anxieties, as well. Uh-oh. I’m sure I am not alone in falling into this trap. Certainly, we all have responsibilities that we must attend to. And sometimes deadlines, unexpected events, and myriad other issues, do cause us to get caught up in temporal matters. But, these must not cause us to lose our peace our alter our priorities and focus regarding eternal matters. God first. If we don’t set aside time for the Lord, how can we expect everything else to work out (I’m speaking primarily to myself here)?
We don’t necessary connect anxiety and drowsiness, but Scripture sure does. Anxiety and its associated grief are said to be the cause of Jesus’ three closest collaborators inability to keep watch with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (see Lk 22:45). Jesus admonished these men who were unable to spend an hour with Him (see Mt 26:40). Is He not doing the same to those of us who don’t set aside at least a few minutes during which we give time to Him to dedicate our day and life to the One who made us and sustains us?
Advent is a great time to start, or to renew, this obligation.
I realize there are bundles of excellent Advent resources, and I will be taking advantage of a few, but here are two that are particularly worthwhile:
A great new resource worth listening to each Sunday of Advent: https://stpaulcenter.com/the-word-of-the-lord/
As always, Bp. Barron’s weekly sermons are recommended: https://youtu.be/vNAwrhRjiok
Aside from a couple of booklets with daily reflections, I have added two books especially for Advent:
- Jesus of Nazareth (Vol. 1) by Pope Benedict XVI
- The Advent of Salvation by Jean Danielou
The first I began reading when it initially came out, but never finished (I have read the two subsequent volumes), so what better time to start from the beginning and polish it off then during Advent?
The second was recommended in an article a few years back so I thought, with “Advent” in the title, why not tackle it this December?