Be Vigilant, Watch And Pray

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Advent is a season of expectation, of waiting, which the Church wants to encourage in all of us, especially in a culture where we want everything now, and according to our tastes.  This attitude of expectation is the sign of a Christian.  The Church still looks forward to his Second Coming even 2,000 years after the coming of Jesus Christ.

There is a new documentary series called Brain, Heart and World on the dangers of pornography for these three realms of man.  It is fascinating.  Hearing confessions one knows how serious this addiction has become in our world today.  And this series in an extremely positive approach spells out many dangers that actually change a person’s way of thinking.  I was struck by the second part where they mention that the hormones that are released in the brain make a person one with a screen, with a machine, since that is the purpose of sex.  And one consequence of this addiction is that people lose their focus; their life becomes fixated on watching porn.  I would invite you to watch this documentary and pass it on to family and friends.

So it is a good time to hear the words of St. Luke whose gospel we will hear in this new liturgical year: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap…be vigilant at all times.”  Given the world that we live in and the number of things we can buy and do with our time these words of Luke are full of wisdom for us.

How a person lives now determines how he or she will stand before God when he comes at the end of time, in his Second Coming.  Probably we will die before it happens but then again it may come next week.  One is reminded of the beatitudes when you hear this gospel: blessed are the clean of heart for they will see God, blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of the gospel for the kingdom of God is theirs.

Watch and pray, the Lord tells us in the gospel.  The two things go together.  Be watchful, be aware of the dangers around us, and speak to Jesus Christ.  Ask his help; tell him about your life, and your worries.  Wake from sleep and pray that you have the strength to stand before him when he comes again.  It is crucial that we thing of this.

Why does the Lord wait and not come right away?  He wants to give us time to convert, to become more repentant, to turn to him, to be ready for his coming.   It is an opportunity for the lost and those who are far away to seek him, maybe to get married in the Church or to re-establish a relationship with him.  He waits because he is merciful.  I exhort you to use these weeks of Advent, brothers and sisters, to invite someone to come with you for one of the Christmas Masses.  This moment may change the rest of his life.  We have a brand new stunning church so use this opportunity; some will come just out of curiosity.  It doesn’t matter God uses whatever he can to reach souls.  Spend some time with people, and at the right moment invite them to come.

Let us ask the Lord to give us courage and discernment to know when and how to speak of him and to simply invite others to see our beautiful church.  Let us also ask for a grateful heart for all that God is doing for us.