by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
The important words for us to remember today to take away with us as we leave this celebration: “Be alert and watch, for you don’t know when the time will come. What I say to you, I say to all. Stay alert.” Now when Mark — or the community of Mark who recorded this Gospel — recorded those words, he and the other disciples, the community of Jesus, fully expected that at almost any time in the very near future would be the end, and Jesus would return in glory and bring all of creation into the fullness of God’s reign.
So, the same thing was true of St. Paul in writing to the church at Corinth. Paul was urging them to be faithful, continue to develop the gifts that you have received, because the Lord is going to return very soon. About 2,000 years later, it hasn’t happened as they expected — that it would come very quickly, the return of Jesus in glory.
So we are still waiting, and that’s what this Advent season is about. It’s staying vigilant, being alert to the coming of Jesus. And of course, we, like those disciples, what Jesus said about himself, we don’t know when that final coming will happen. But there are many other ways in which Jesus, God, comes into our life if we stay awake, if we stay alert….