Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

Let Us Stay Awake. First Sunday of Advent Year A

Sunday Breakfast with the Word First Sunday of Advent Year A

Isaiah 2:1-5 , Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

 

Stay Awake, Because You do not know The Day

 

 

Little Joe, has consistently disturbed his parents to take him to their parish priest. The couple approached the priest after the Holy Mass one day and requested that he bless their only child. 

 

According to the parents, the child always disturbs them because he wants to go to church and see Father. So, after the mass that day, they brought the child to the priest and told the priest how the child had been disturbing them. 

 

The priest was so happy. He proceeded and blessed the child. While the parents wanted to go, the child asked the priest “Fr, when will you come to our house”?

 

The priest promised them that he would come the next Sunday. On the expected date, the little child was busy waiting for the priest. 

According to his mother, he could not rest and was waiting for the priest to come. It was obvious the priest could not fulfil his promise.

 

 According to the mother, they could not sleep at night. The child keeps pestering them, waking up at different times, in between the times of the night, and asking his mother if the priest has come.

 

He could not sleep well that night. On the day the priest came, the whole neighbourhood could not contain his joy and excitement. It was a joyful moment for Little Joe. 

 

In this little child, we see someone eager to meet his priest. In him, we see someone who has the hunger to have a full encounter with the priest, in him we see the love, the readiness, the willingness and the hunger to receive a blessing. 

 

This makes him stay awake because he does not know the day, the hour and the time the priest will come. He does not want to miss anything. He does not want any cock and bull story. Such attitudes are what we mean when we repeat the statement that Jesus makes today in the gospel. 

 

 

As we begin the season of advent, Jesus tells us to stay awake at all times. He says to His disciples “‘So stay awake because you do not know the day when your master is coming”. 

 

 

 

Stay Awake Meaning.

 

The statement simply means that you are not sleeping at all. It means constant awareness, persistence, alertness and the willingness to stand firm. It could mean being alert, vigilant and not getting tired. 

Therefore, in an application, to be awake means to be spiritually alert always, and willing to stand firm despite problems and challenges.

 It could mean the willingness to remain strong in faith and in what we believe, even when everything stands against us, or when we are tempted to lose faith. It is to persist in praying, fasting and doing good, as we expect the coming of the Messiah. 

Therefore, we are staying awake not for the sake of staying awake or for nothing but because we are eager to encounter Jesus fully. 

It is a sign that we are very serious with eternal life awaiting all. We do not want life to take us unawares. When we stay awake, it denotes love, and the hunger we have for Jesus and our salvation. Therefore, the basic requirement for the advent is simply to stay awake at all times.

 

 

 

What is Advent.

 

 

Etymologically, Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” meaning “coming”. This solemn period is the period when Christians all over the world prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. The period of advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical season.  

 

 

The season of advent thus has a threefold implication. It is the preparation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas, the coming of Jesus Christ to dwell in our hearts and the glorious second coming of Christ. 

Therefore, as we are preparing for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, we are also preparing for Him to come and dwell in our hearts and thus prepare for His second coming. 

 

 

So, with the advent season, the mother Church asks us to stay awake at all times, so that these glorious moments will not pass us by.

 

By staying awake, we ensure that the day of the second coming will not take us by surprise. The traditional liturgical colour for Advent is violet.

 

The season of Advent normally lasts four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Advent ends on Saturday, December 24th.

 

The season of Advent is a replica of the church  who  wait for the return of Christ in glory to inaugurate his eternal kingdom (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2).

 

The church is in a similar situation in penance, praying, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Therefore, this is the time we have to retreat and recollect and make amends in preparation for the Lord’s coming.

 

 

As the Lord Comes.

 

 

1.The first reading talks about the vision that God gives to Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Jerusalem and Judah. But to understand this properly, we have to read from chapter one of Isaiah to chapter two. 

 

 

Chapter two was also introduced in the same way as chapter one as a vision Isaiah the son of Amos received concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

 

During the time of Isaiah and at the time of this prophecy, it was recorded that Jerusalem and Judea became so sinful and corrupt that in verse 4 of Isaiah chapter 1, God says woe to them. 

God says “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption!”. The reason is that these cities forsake God and turned their backs on Him.

 

2. They rejected God. Towards the end of the chapter, God promises to come with justice to deliver the repentant ones with righteousness, but greater punishment awaits the rebels and sinners and those who forsake the Lord. His coming will save the righteous but those who are claiming mighty, He would burn with fire. 

 

 

This is the first aspect of the lord’s coming. His coming will bring justice, vindication and salvation to the righteous but damnation and punishment for the wicked and those who have rejected God nor have His time. 

 

 

3. Hence, chapter two, which is our first reading today, continues chapter one. In this chapter, God talks about the days to come.

In essence, this points to eschatology or the time when God will come with His glory. It also points to the day when the son of man will come, as we portray with the season of advent. 

God says that in these days to come, the mountain of God’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains,”

 

 

 

4.  In the Jewish culture, and the Bible generally, mountains were places where people encountered God. For Moses encountered God on Mount Sinai. So Mountain signifies a place of divine encounter.

 The fact that God’s house will be established as the highest of mountains is symbolic of the preeminent status that the place of God will enjoy “in days to come.”So, unlike the cities that do not have time for God, at the time of Isaiah, in the days to come, God will be uplifted above all. 

 

 

5. Now, the poor are suffering and it seems the wicked are prospering, but these days, the suffering will be remembered, and the righteous will be uplifted. At that time, He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples;

The swords of these nations will become ploughshares and their spears into sickles. Therefore, No Nation will lift the sword against another nation. There will be peace.

 

Therefore, as the Lord comes, there will be change. As the lord comes, His light will shine among nations, many nations will gather in His presence both Jews and Gentiles. He is coming to bring all together and cause people to walk in His light.

 

 

6. Therefore, the first reading summarises in some parts, the essence of the advent season. Therefore, it means that God will not leave us unrewarded if we are able and eager to await his coming and walk in His light. 

His coming is to vindicate the righteous and set us free. Therefore, we have to stay awake because we do not know the day, the Lord will come. It calls for seriousness and willingness to remain close to God, despite whatever comes in between. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord may come When We do Not Expect.

 

 

In the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples that the day the son of man will come, will be like the days of Noah.

 

During the time of Noah, before the Flood, there were warnings but those warnings were dejected. Noah calls them to come together, but they ignore him. They paid deaf ears to God’s instructions. 

 

In those days, before the Flood, people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. Jesus says that this will be like this when the Son of Man comes. 

 

This essentially points to the second coming of Jesus, the eschatology. As the day of the flood took Noah’s time unawares, the day of the Lord’s coming will take us unawares. As the day took them unawares, so the day will take us unexpectedly, if we do not prepare for it. 

 

The grace of Christmas will come to many unawares unless we prepare ourselves very well for the coming of Jesus. 

 

Also, If you are praying do not give up, if you are fasting, do not give up, because when God will answer your prayers is not your time to detect. He always comes at a time we do not expect. So stay awake because You do not know The Day. 

 

 

 

 

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The Reason we Must Stay Awake.

 

 

In the gospel, Jesus gives some reasons we must be ready at all times. He gives reasons we must stay awake at all times. 

 

1. In the gospel, Jesus says that we must be awake because on that day two men will be in the fields but one is taken, one left; two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left. Therefore, we must stay awake so that we must be among those God will count worthy of His Kingdom. 

 

2. He also, “So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming”. Therefore, since we do not know when the master is coming, the only way to prepare for his coming is to be ready and spiritually alert. You have to stay awake because you do not know the day, the hour, and the moment the master will come. 

 

3. Jesus says “You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. 

 

Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”.’ Not allowing the thief to enter or the burglar to come, in essence, means not allowing the devil to come and tempt us away from God.

 In essence, the only way to stand against temptation is to be readily awake and be wary of the wiles of the evil one. We have to be vigilant so as not to fall or allow the devil to steal our joy and graces away from us.

 

 

How to Stay Awake.

 

 

In the second reading, Paul also writes to the Roman communities at a time when they also seemed to be losing hope, relaxing, and forgetting God.

 

The letter came to them at a time of spiritual laxity when people are giving little care or attention to the things of God.

 It also came at a time, when some faithful Christians were undergoing persecution. Paul through this letter reminds them to wake up from slumber. 

Paul reminds them that it is true that they are passing through challenging times but the time of salvation is almost near. Hence, in this letter, Saint Paul is asking them to stay awake because they do not know the day. He discusses in this letter how we can stay awake. They are:

 

 

1. Start Now. 

In the letter to the Romans, Paul says You know ‘the time has come: you must wake up now. Therefore, Paul tells them that the time to respond to His message is not tomorrow or the next. It is now.

 

So, We do not postpone the time to come close to God. We have to make the decision now. Now is the time. 

 

2. We have to give up the Darkness. 

In the second reading, Paul says that our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. Paul advises that we must give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark.

 

Therefore, whatever we are doing in secret, must be a thing of the past. We have to give up whatever does not give God glory in our lives. Everything that belongs to the darkness must be brought to an end. Therefore, we have to repent and quit our sinful lives. This is the time to embrace God again. 

 

 

 

3. Walk with Jesus

In John 8:12, Jesus says “I am the light of the world, Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In John 1:4-5, John says “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome” and that those believing in Him will no longer be in darkness (John  12:46 ).  

Then, in the second reading, Paul requests that we must arm ourselves and appear in the light. Therefore, we have to close with Jesus.

Therefore, when we walk with Jesus the light, we also will become light to the world. We shall become instruments of salvation to the people. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus describes His disciples as light and light-bearers

Therefore, to stay awake, we have to decide to walk with Jesus. We have to decide to become a light to souls who wander away from God. We also must decide to be light ourselves

 

 

4. Let us Live Decently

In the second reading, Paul tells the Romans to live decently as people do in the daytime: with no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Therefore, to stay awake, they have to live decently awaiting the coming of the Messiah

In essence, we have to seek to live a holy and righteous life. We have to free ourselves from drunkenness, immorality, licentiousness, wrangling, hatred, wickedness, envy and jealousy. We have to free ourselves from every form of bitterness and sinful living. 

 

 

5. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul tells the Romans that the only armour they must have is Jesus Christ. Armour is a metal coverings which are formerly worn by soldiers or warriors to protect the body in battle. Ephesians 6:14-17 describes the 6 pieces of the armour of God.  

To put on the whole armour means to believe all that Jesus has done (Eph. 1-3) and to live it out in daily life (Eph. 4-5). It is living in the power of everything that God has done in every area of life even when there are challenges. This is about living a life of prayer, righteousness, faith and honesty. 

Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-17, that with these armours can be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. He says “Therefore take unto you the whole armour of God, so that you can withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 

 

 

 

 Conclusion.

 

1. Advent signals a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. To prepare for this coming, Jesus asks us just one thing, which is “to stay awake”. 

This is the surest and most legitimate way that we can prepare for His coming. As the season is drawing near, many people are now thinking of what to do to be part of the Christmas celebration. Many people would be thinking of renewing their houses, marriage anniversaries, etc. Can we also plan how we can be spiritually awake and prepared for the season?

 

2. Today, almost everything about the spiritual, seems to sound like a fairytale. Many people do not care about the soul or where the soul would rest at the end.

 

When we do remember God is only at the hour of death, then it could become too late. We have to avoid the events of the days of Noah. In essence, we have to avoid and stop playing with the things of God.

 

Remember that In the first reading, God promises punishment for the people of Jerusalem for rejecting and spurning His name.

 

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the Romans to wake up from slumber. On that day, the only people who are a hundred per cent sure of eternal punishment are those who heard about God but rejected Him. Let us not be part of this.

 

 

 

3. If you are hosting a governor, a president or any notable personality, we will go any extra length to work and prepare for the person’s coming. We will hire the best services and cook the best foods for our guests. We will provide the best microphone.

 

At that time, every person will make sure to appear gorgeous, dressed in their wondrous attires etc. but when it comes to preparation for the coming messiah, the highest personality of all personalities, we hike the price of goods, the price of fuel etc, immorality becomes the order of the day, hence our bodies become avenues to make money, and some use the time to plan to decimate, kill, kidnap and eliminate their enemies and evil goes on the increase.

We seem to give Jesus a backhand preparation but give human beings wonderful preparation. So the question today is: How are you going to prepare?

 

 

4. To stay awake does not mean that Jesus is stressing us. To capture the importance of this statement, we have to read the introduction story about little Joe. 

Therefore, To stay awake means we are truly hungry to be saved. It shows how we truly love Jesus. It is the willingness to remain firm in the faith and to be among the chosen ones. 

This calls for total obedience and dedication to Jesus Christ. What it means is that you do not want to be left out of this great event that is to come. 

Like Little Joe, we have to develop that incessant thirst to have a spiritual and lovely encounter with Jesus when He comes.

 It means we want to be among those to be rewarded. 

 

 

Therefore, when Jesus says Stay Awake, Because You do not know The Day, He is not against our freedom, rather He is saying “if You truly love me, why not long for me”

 

 

 

5. Therefore, it is not merely saying I love God or I love Jesus. It is not merely belonging to a church or answering a church member. 

Rather, this is a desire for a true and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We stay awake because of Him. 

Stay awake because you do not know the day, that person you loved would come. Therefore, if we truly and sincerely have an atom of Love for Jesus, this is the time to prove it. 

May God bless and give us the grace to prepare and be ready for His coming. Amen

 

 

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47 Comments
  1. Okonkwo onyinye says

    AMEN

  2. Chioma Evangeline says

    Amen.

  3. GeraldineMary says

    Amen

  4. Mbama Christiana says

    Amen. Lord as we await for your 2nd coming, give us the grace to be fully awake in doing your will. Amen.
    Thank you Padre for this beautiful and inspiring message. God bless and keep you. Amen.

  5. Ogechi Anugwom says

    Amen

  6. Mailoushi James says

    Amen, remain blessed Fr. Happy Sunday

  7. Udenze chisom Julia says

    amen.

  8. Benedicta chukwumahben7@gmail.com says

    A beautiful homily which will take the whole of today to digest. I pray for grace to rediscover my first love for God. I identify with little Joe’s story when growing up in Ibadan and Bishop Alana Job visits our home unexpected. Our neighbors will all accompany him to our apartment and the smallness of the sitting room will not accommodate the number of children! Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!

  9. Onyeoma Ukamaka says

    Amen… bless you too Fr.

  10. Omeje Ifebuche says

    AMEN

  11. Ugwu Obianuju G says

    Amen

  12. Udemezue Martina Mary says

    Amen

  13. Chizoba Ekwueme says

    Amen!

  14. Dorothy Mary Iyinbor says

    Amen thanks Padre
    Happy Sunday

  15. Nwoye Ngozi says

    Amen

  16. Mariajacinta Ivoke says

    Amen

  17. Anidiobi Sylvia Ngozi says

    I pray for grace to be ready for Christ coming Amen

  18. Umeze Rosemary says

    Amen

  19. Chinwe Agwoile says

    Amen and Amen!
    In the past, I have received some sudden pleasant surprises. I have also received some that were rather too sudden and shocking. These left me sad and devastated. Today, Jesus tells me that what happened during the days of Noah would also happen when He will come again.
    Do I realize that one day the heavenly bell will toll and I must answer?
    Do I know that one day my game of ludo and checkers will be over, and I will receive the quit notice to relocate elsewhere?

    Lord Jesus, may Your coming fill me with a holy and indescribable joy. Give me the grace to live the life of a true and faithful Christian. I pray that I may be found with a trailer load of works of goodness whenever it shall please You to take me away finally from this world. Grant me the grace of a fruitful Advent season.
    Amen!

    Am resolved to 𝘽𝙚 .𝙖.𝙥𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙩.𝙤𝙛.𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩🕯️

  20. Cordelia Agudosi says

    Amen

  21. Ifeoma Ugwueze says

    Amen

  22. Ogechi Oscar says

    Amen

  23. Goodluck Ekeocha says

    Amen

  24. Elizabeth kiio says

    AMEN
    May almighty GOD to prepare our soul for our Lord and to prepare our souls dairy when we meet him in HOLY EUCHARIST

  25. Amaka says

    Amen!!!!
    Happy New Year brethren!!!

  26. Nwatu Nneka P says

    Amen Amen Amen
    🙏 🙏🙏
    Thanks

  27. Regina Mobu says

    Amen

  28. Angela Ekere says

    Amen

  29. Theomaris says

    Amen and Amen 🙏

  30. John says

    Amen

  31. Oby Okpalaeke says

    Amen 🙏

  32. Chioma Frances Egwuogu says

    Amen

  33. Michael Jones says

    Amen

  34. Ugwu Marycynthia Odinaka says

    Amen 🙏🏾. May God bless you too

  35. Amalu Gloria says

    Amen and Amen.

  36. Ugwu Josephine Nnenna. says

    Amen. Amen and Amen.

  37. Doris Emmanuel Ogban says

    LORD please give me the GRACE to stay awake in your coming🙏

  38. Jane chuks says

    Amen 🙌

  39. Ani Chinonyelum Emmanuella says

    Amen, thanks Padre

  40. Eririogu Fidelia says

    Amen . Thanks father

  41. Ekete Juliet says

    Amen

  42. Christian says

    Amen

  43. Enibe Jacinta Amara says

    Amen

  44. Dinmah Lucy Chinyere says

    Amen

  45. Okeke Juliet Nneka says

    Amen 🙏.

  46. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu and family says

    Amen Amen Amen. I will be ready when the Lord shall come.

  47. Michael Uzoechiena says

    Amen Padre and God’s Divine wisdom and strength.

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