Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings Nov. 29, 2015

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man." -- Luke 21:36

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” — Luke 21:36


Nov. 29, First Sunday of Advent

      Cycle C. Readings:

      1) Jeremiah 33:14-16

      Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14

      2) 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

      Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

I was driving on an interstate highway one day with my daughter. We were chatting away when she interrupted the conversation to point out a highway patrol car parked among some trees in the median a good distance ahead. “You see the cop up there, don’t you?” she said, indicating I should probably slow down.

Indeed, I started to touch the brakes but then smiled and cut my eyes at her. “Seriously?” I asked with a slight tone of sarcasm. She looked at me and burst into laughter, “Oh, right.”

We both knew I’ve been driving “like a grandma” (slow) since I was 15. I’m not as attentive to watching for hidden patrol cars as she is. But I don’t have to be, because I so rarely drive over the speed limit.

The fact is I’ve never believed I was a very good driver, so I’ve always been overly cautious behind the wheel. It’s not so much that I’m conscientious about following the rules as it is that I’m extra-sensitive to risking the safety of everybody else on the road.

Too bad I’m not equally conscientious about how my attention to following the Father’s commandments and Jesus’ teachings affect everybody else around me. But that’s what God desires — of me and all of us.

The Scriptures for this first Sunday of Advent call us to constantly, faithfully follow God’s ways, because in this way we help open the world to God’s presence, both now and at the end of time.

Paul explained in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all … so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God.”

When we do stand before God, it will be our own failure to be faithful that will “catch you by surprise like a trap,” Jesus told his disciples.

God doesn’t hide among the trees in the median waiting to catch us for breaking his commandments. Instead, he wants us to “be vigilant” ourselves, so that our own lives always enhance the life of the world so it is worthy of God’s presence.


What kinds of daily distractions or inattention to faithfulness to Christ do you need to be more vigilant about? How do you believe God sees you standing before him right now?

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