1st Sunday Advent 2013 Where is our Focus?

1st Sunday Advent 2013 Year A

Matt 24: 37-44


We have a problem my friends….

This Gospel was written somewhere around 75-90AD

Many if not all of the original disciples of Jesus had died…

The temple had been destroyed in a fierce battle….

The early Christians were being taunted by many other faiths

Where is your Jesus?  I thought he was coming? 

It was also a culture that did not think much beyond a week or two

It was a culture that was nomadic survival….

It didn’t have a future imagination….

but it had a belief in a God who promised to return…



To that culture in that time the Gospel writer had to speak of hope….of hope for and in the future…of hope for and in the return of God…to a people who were teetering on the cliffs edge of doubt, despair and disillusionment.  Castigated by fear, by threats, by taunting.


Into that doubt, fear and disillusionment Matthew speaks:

You must be prepared…the Promised One is coming when you least expect it!


I have to believe that some, probably like some of us had to respond with:  Yeah right…when?






It’s hard to wait isn’t it! 

We live in a world that is instant!

We have instant everything,

Instant potatoes, Instant soup,

Instant coffee, Instant oatmeal,

Instant access, and Instant messaging,

As well as Instant Macaroni & Cheese…which is just wrong!


We don’t want too and we don’t accept hardly anything that involves waiting…


We can’t even wait for black Friday….we have to shop on Thanksgiving day!


If our processors don’t work fast…at least dual core if not quad core or System 7 in case you are an Apple freak…then we don’t want it…because its not fast enough…


Patience…its not a hallmark of our world


Consequently…Advent…it can be a hard season to live in…its a season of waiting…a season of mindful awareness…of who we are and how we are being in the world.


To our culture, our doubt, our fear the Gospel speaks a very clear message: 

You must be prepared for the Promised One is coming at the time you least expect it!

We do have a future imagination….we plan for retirement….we plan for college…we are often focused on tomorrow…..often too focused on tomorrow that we miss today!


I was leaving Prison the other night and I have gotten in the habit of looking for the beauty in the various sunsets that I see….I have taken several shots with my cell phone….but as I walked from one of the prison, I saw the sunset….same one, same beauty, same magnificence….but it was obstructed just a little by rows and rows of razor wire and fences so high I could only see the sunset through it not over it.


I thought to myself about this Gospel and these words:  You must be prepared….


You see my friends its still the same sunset, its still just as beautiful, its just as magnificent, but I allowed my focus to be on the razor wire and fence….it was my focus that marred the beauty and grace of those few moments…the beauty and grace were still there….still as plentiful…


I am not sure what it will take for us to focus on the abundant grace of the present moments of our lives?  I do know it will be different for each of us.  We have different fears, different doubts, different struggles with life, love, relationships and living….


but I firmly believe the call of Advent is just like the revelation of the sunset….it depends on what we focus….on the obstructions of razor and fence….or on the beauty of the grace? 


As this season unfolds I wonder where our energy will be…on our fears, doubts and resentments or on God’s grace, love and mercy?





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