First Sunday of Advent 2021

There is an old Irish legend, about a King and a Queen who went to war with each other.  The Queen was Queen Maeve of Connacht, and the King was: King Conor of Ulster.  Both their armies were equally strong, so neither of them had an advantage.  An old spell came on the soldiers of Ulster and they fell asleep.  And while they were sleeping, they lost the battle and they lost the war.  There are two kinds of sleep; one kind gives us rest and relaxation,  so that we can face the new day wth a smile and with enthusiasm.  The other kind of sleep, makes us forget what is important in our lives. It is a distraction. This can also happen in our spiritual life.  We forget what we should be doing, we forget what is important, it is like we are sleep walking.  In the gospel today, Jesus reminds us to stay  awake; that we should be on the lookout;  that we should not be taken by surprise. Today Jesus speaks about the end of the world and his second coming. With the emergence of this new Omicron variant of covid 19, some people are tempted to think that the end of the world has come, but thankfully we know it hasn’t. Jesus asks us to be awake and in a special way, he asks us to be prepared for his coming at christmas; to prepare our hearts, to listen to his words and his message.  Christmas is a wonderful time, a time of joy and happiness, and God knows that we need a lot of enthusiasm, hope and joy this christmas. He is the child who is born each year, for the world always needs its God and Saviour. Each year we have different needs and especially this year we need this child to come to our lives to give us renewed enthusiasm, renewed willingness, renewed excitement, and renewed hope. We need a child of peace to be born in our own divided acrimonious families; we need a child of hope to be born in our own sometimes depressed, despondent, and downhearted existence. Make room in your hearts this Christmas for Christ, let us pay attention to God’s presence in our lives, let us seek opportunities this Advent to become more aware of how God can touch our lives each day. There can be no christmas without advent.  Advent is a time when we can prepare our hearts and our homes to receive Jesus.  So as we begin advent this year, let us ask for the grace to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.  Let us ask for the grace to be awake.  And when he comes, then we can say that Jesus has been closer to me  more than any other time in my life.  What a wonderful christmas this would be.