December 3, 2023
First Sunday of Advent (Year B)
Readings for Today
“Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” Mark 13:33
To which time is our Lord referring? He is referring to the time of His coming. But it must be understood that even though He came to us once in the flesh long ago, and though He will return again in the flesh to judge the living and the dead at the end of time, He never ceases to come to us day and night by the transforming gift of grace. Are you attentive to this coming? Or do you miss out on the countless blessings of God’s grace that He wants to bestow upon you every day, all day?
The world has many distractions. We are distracted by the lure of riches, the indulgence of our appetites, and the constant noise of modern media, electronic gadgets and the like. These and many other daily distractions make it very difficult to be constantly “watchful” and “alert.” This is because our attention span is limited. Though some may learn to “multi-task” to a certain extent, no one can continually divide their attention between the presence of God and the distractions of the world.
Some may argue that it is necessary to engage the world today. It is not possible to continually pray and think only about God. But those who would be tempted to think this do not understand the attentiveness and watchfulness to which we are called.
Being watchful and attentive simply means that God is central in our lives and is the motivation and purpose of all we do every day. Our love for and service to God cannot be divided. We cannot set aside some time for the world and other times for God. Instead, everything we do, every day, all day, must have the glory of God and the fulfillment of God’s perfect will as the central and exclusive purpose of our lives. Thus, if we interact with the world, tune into social media, fulfill household chores, put in extra hours at work, etc., we must constantly ponder the simple question, “Lord, am I doing this for Your glory and in accord with Your will?” We must never fail to ask ourselves that question. We must always have the glory of God and the fulfillment of His will as the central purpose and motivation for all that we do. If we can live this way, then we will discover that it becomes increasingly easy to always and everywhere be attentive to and watchful for God’s will.
Reflect, today, upon that to which you most often turn your attention. What is it that you think about the most each day? To what are you most attentive and watchful? If the answer to that question is not the ongoing promptings of God and His grace, then make note of that fact. Humbly pray that you can change and begin to form a transforming habit of daily keeping your attention on our Lord so that He will become your daily guide and focus in all things.
Lord of all grace, You come to me day and night, speaking to me, calling me and desiring to guide me. May I learn to turn my full attention to You every day so that nothing but You and Your holy will lead me always. Jesus, I trust in You.
Novena to the Immaculate Conception
November 29 – December 7
Saint Andrew Christmas Novena
Traditionally prayed 15 times a day from November 30 through Christmas Eve.
Saint of the Day – Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday