A man who was a homeowner left on a journey. He put his servant in change of his home, his possessions, all his property. Jesus directed the servants to be watchful because they do not know when the owner will return.
Doesn’t take a brilliant mind to figure out that the homeowner is God and that we are the servants who are left in charge. The Season of Advent is about being watchful. As we light the candles on the Advent wreath, we mark the days, the weeks in anticipation of the Christmas Season. Unfortunately, many of us confuse preparation with penance. One of the few ways that we know how to prepare is to be repentant. We know how to fast, how to pray a novena, how to deprive ourselves of pleasures to show God that we love Him. Advent is a season that invites us to “be” rather than to “do something”. We are more comfortable when we can measure our accomplishments. To sit before the Blessed Sacrament without an agenda is challenging. Some folks go to Adoration like they are armed for battle—a Bible, a rosary, a crucifix—the stuff that fills up the time. Being still before the Lord, as is clearly stated, “Be still and know that I am God”, is a difficult step toward spiritual maturity. Prayers of petition, prayers of praise, prayers of thanksgiving are all popular. The prayer of trying to listen is the least used. In the listening we are not in control; and that scares us. To trust someone completely with our wellbeing takes a lot of faith. We must be willing to surrender everything.
That’s what God did for us. He surrendered Himself completely into our hands. And He continues to give Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament. He places Himself into our hands, into our bodies as we receive Him, unworthy as we are. Consider that He is the homeowner and has turned over all His possessions into our care. God does not need us. We need Him. Yet, despite our inadequacies, we are in charge. Of course, we must be watchful, not out of fear but out of love, because we are grateful for such awesome responsibility. How are we doing? What is Your advice? Those are the questions that should fill our prayers as we watch. The guilt complex can come over us and we resort to the check list of the things we’ve done right and the things we’ve done wrong. We gravitate to the past, which can never be changed. The past distracts us from looking at the present or what lies ahead. Being watchful is never about looking at the past.
“You better watch out, you’d better not cry, you’d better not pout I’m telling why. Santa Claus is coming to town.” There’s always more emphasis on preparing for Santa Claus and what we are going to get or what we are going to buy than on preparing for the Christ Child. The collective consciousness of the world culture is almost impossible to change. But the Lord did. That’s why He took our human form. Jesus did not send us a road map. He became the road map. The Lord came to show us that our life is not our own. We must live for others, in service of others. The day should not be measured by how much profit we made, but by how we were able to serve others, especially the poor. After all, everything is borrowed. We are not the owners. The servants must take care of each other. The last thing that the owner wants to see if a fight between the servants. Yet, disagreements happen often. If we refuse to forgive each other, resentments pile up. Wars lead to the murders of many innocent people and many victims are forced to immigrate. During Advent we are invited to look in the mirror. How can we improve? Can we be better stewards of the owner’s house? Every moment matters. We are responsible for each other.
Jesus came to show us how to live, how to love and how to serve. He is with us as we watch. We are never alone.