First Sunday of Advent
The Gospel several weeks ago, on Sunday, November 12 was from Matthew 25. It is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. It was told by Jesus as a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. There are many interesting features of this parable worth noting. Not least of all it is worth noting that the Greek word for virgin is sometimes translated in English as bridesmaids. However, the story tells us that they were part of the groom’s welcoming party. Another interesting feature is that the groom arrives in the middle of the night, precisely at midnight. The midnight hour figures prominently in Holy Scriptures. In the Book of Exodus, it is at midnight that the deliverance of the people of Israel begins as they prepare to leave slavery and march into freedom. In the Book of Ruth, Boaz and Ruth meet each other at midnight. In the Early Church midnight figured prominently in the anticipation of Christ’s return. Generally, midnight was viewed as a time of God’s blessing.
So what does this have to do with Advent? Advent is a time of waiting for we “know neither the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return.” Advent is a time to be alert, like the women in the parable who were awake and had their lamps ready to welcome the groom to the wedding banquet. Advent is also a season of blessing.
On that second Sunday in November I preached a homily suggesting that we are often asleep with the distractions of life. The hectic pace we take on dulls our senses to the presence of God. If this is the case, Advent is a season to practice being awake. You might do this through a renewed prayer life, by participating in a retreat or spending more time reflecting on the Sacred Scriptures. However you choose to wake up, I pray that these days will get you ready for the coming of Christ and the season of God’s blessing.
Fr. Larry Blake
Director, Center for Campus Ministry