Gospel: Take care to be ready (Mt 24, 37-44)
At that time Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. In those days before the flood they ate and drank, took wives and took husbands, until the day Noah entered the ark; the people knew nothing , before the flood came, which swallowed them all up: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two men be in the field: the one shall be taken, the other forsaken. Two women shall be at the mill grinding: the one shall be taken, the other forsaken . Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Understand this well: if the master of the house had known when in the night the thief would come, he would have watched and not have allowed the wall of his house to be broken through. So be ready, you also: it is at that hour, when you do not think about it, that the Son of Man is coming. »
Other readings: Is 2, 1-5; Psalm 121 (122); Romans 13, 11-14a.
So when is the end of the world? When will he come, the Son of Man? Is it imminent? Through a mysterious growth of evil accompanied by a mysterious growth of good, we witness an accentuation of the tragic dimension of history. The means that man now has in his hand, the planetization of life on earth, all this intensifies history and brings together the forces of evil as well as the forces of good. It is on XXe century that the church has the most canonized saints, no doubt because, a century of world wars, of totalitarian horrors, it was a moment in history when evil appeared on earth with such power that hell at certain times and in certain places almost ruled the world outright. And in XXIe century, the power of evil is evidently not weakening, nor is it loosening its grip. And about all this, constantly connected and connected, we are daily informed, over-informed, by voyeuristic and sometimes obscene media, which delights in unfolding the small details. Overinformed, but maybe also chloroform… Because the looped image of what goes wrong, after becoming permanent, often acts as a screen, literally. To rub shoulders with these distant and planetary horrors on a daily basis (but sometimes not as distant as that), we shield ourselves without realizing it, we get used to it; and we continue to drink, eat, enjoy and consume (sometimes to compensate!); our charity is not completely dead, but it becomes abstract, above ground or sometimes ideological, against a background of despair or impotence. Inversely proportional to the dramas of the world, our compassion grows in theory, or appears, in speech, but a cunning basic indifference, by stupor or habit, may at the same time win us over. That’s the risk. Advent comes just in time to wake us up! Jesus watches over our deep heart.
Because so many hearts, unfortunately, already look like those hostels in Bethlehem, messy and full, and where there is and where there will be no more room for him on Christmas Eve. We have four weeks before us to prepare for him, the humble stable of a poor heart, but a true and loving heart, where he can come again, be born and grow. Yes, on this first Sunday of Advent, Jesus, who tirelessly seeks the door of our hearts, has only one question in mind: he wants to know if it is open, really open, if it is not too crowded, if he is alive. It is a question of nothing less than giving our lives, of letting go of everything to choose love, truly welcoming the one who will give us true charity, that which begins humbly by giving oneself to one’s neighbor , that is – say to those closest to you: our husband, our wife, our child, our neighbour, a companion, an office colleague. (Let us remember the unfortunate rich person who suffers in Heaven for missing poor Lazarus at his door.) “Wokism” does not have a monopoly on revival! And if each of us is enough awake to the real nuts that are at our doorstep, then by concentric circles we will also be able, mysteriously and in a more real way, to touch more distant nuts…
Lord, remove our vigilance, give us the grace of true attention to the miseries of our time and keep us ready. Heal our indifference, and show us every day how we, where we are, have our share in the common good and in the salvation of the world.
→ Advent: the time of desire by Marcel Domergue