Be Watchful!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Mark tells us in his gospel this week, and we will hear from him this year, “Stay awake! Be watchful and alert!  You do not know when the time will come.”  Advent is a time of waiting for the Lord; first, in his second Coming and then for his coming to us in Christmas.

Also our theme to help us this Advent is Angels.  Angels are messengers and when God has a message of great importance he sends an Archangel like Gabriel who announces to Mary that she will be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.  The Christmas story is full of angels, thousands of them, as we will hear these weeks.  An angel appeared to Zachariah when he was in the temple to tell him that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would conceive a son and there were to name him John (the Baptist).  And an angel appears to Joseph to tell him not to fear to take Mary as his wife and the child within her is from the Holy Spirit.

Angels are very popular today for many reasons and hopefully this series will help us to have a more mature understanding of angels and the role they should play in our lives.  First of all they are created by God, but are not human beings like us.  They are pure spirits, which means they have no bodies. They sometimes appear in Scripture with a body in order to fulfill their mission, but they are pure spirits.

What do angels do and why should I be interested in them?  As we shall see they do a great deal and the first reading from Isaiah can help us.  He is considered by many to be the greatest of all the prophets since he spoke more of the coming of Christ than any other prophet.  We hear from him a lot during this time of Advent and Christmas.  Today he is writing because Israel is under attack and in bad shape.  And he complains to God say, “Why do you let us wander from your ways, O Lord?”

Isaiah knows that there difficulties arised from their wandering away from God and they are experiencing the consequences of their actions.  So Isaiah is asking God or blaming God for letting it happen.  We often do the same, no?  And so we keep asking God why did you let me fall so far into debt, or how did I get into this mess with my spouse or kids or girlfriend, or why did you allow me to take this job or this class in school?  He sounds very desperate and also he knows that God is the only one who can help him.

God is the only one who can help you in that hopeless situation and he often does it by sending us angels.  He did it to a nation hoping for a savior and to shepherds who were the outcasts of society.  They were afraid of their appearance at first but in the end the angels come to help man and to bring him a message.  They are a reminder that God does not leave us alone.  This is the most important reason to get to know angels, especially your guardian angel, since they will point you and lead you to God.  So be alert, the Lord is coming and you don’t want to miss him.  Be watchful by praying each day and attentive to what the Lord is saying to you.  Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, the Lord will be here soon and we don’t want to miss him.