HOW TO BE ON GUARD: WORK AND PRAY! Prayer Reflection for First Sunday of Advent, Yr. B

My late mother once said to me, "since I was young I have heard it preached many times that the world will end someday and Jesus will come again take his own to himself. Now I am old, these things are yet to happen, and then she asked, when shall these things happen? Does this worry you as well? A popular African Igbo adage says that "a man whose lover promises to come at night hears the footsteps of the spirits." Such is our experience whenever we are in expectation: we are either overcome by anxiety or become weary as long as the suspense lasts: we cry, when will this trial come to its end? This is so because we are beings existing and conditioned by time. This human condition affects our spiritual lives as well and could make us regard spiritual activities as some endless routine heading no where, or as some events marking times and seasons. Advent is here again and the Church, through the Word of God, reminds us to prepare for the two-fold coming of Jesus at Christmas and at the parousia (end time), what does this mean? How should we prepare? How should we stay awake? Read slowly...

Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, or in the morning; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’


1. Be on your Guard, Stay awake! I know you have heard that before. It is not a new and you are becoming disinterested already! Yes it is not a new word it means repent, live good life, so that when the master comes he won't find you unprepared! You can even preach it without a bible study! But I ask you, why did Jesus address his disciple like watchman called to be "on guard"? Christ addressed them so because they (and we by extension) are like watchmen situated on a height that watches over a city to over see approaches to it. But the Bible also says "in vain does the watchman keep vigil, if the Lord does not watch over the house" (Ps. 127:1b). Hmm...does this ring a bell? Stay awake! How can you stay awake? You and I know you can't be idle and expect to be awake or conscious at night, you must be doing something, otherwise you become drowsy and sleep off. What then does this mean? Jesus gives us a clue...

2. Jesus uses the imagery of a man who travels leaving behind servants and a door keeper whom he placed in charge of his household and charged them "each with his own task" and asked them to stay awake. What tasks you ask me? It is to Work and to Pray! As "waiters" waiting on their masters return they are expected "to serve" for "waiters" serve!. Why prayer you ask me? Jesus gives the clue when he says "you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, or in the morning." Pay attention to the hours mentioned in the reverse order of the day which corresponds respectively to the "set time prayers" as we find them in the Church's liturgy of hours: Vespers (evening prayer), Compline (Night prayer), Lauds (morning prayer) and Sext (afternoon prayer). 

3. Advent season is a time we are reminded to prepare welcome Christ in his two-fold coming, and we must do so in prayer and good works. We are called called to come out of the obscured way we see time in relation to our spiritual lives for it could make us deviate, thinking we are being deceived. How we measure time and events differs from God's hence the bible says "with the Lord one day is like a thousand years" (2 Pet. 3:8), and when we talk about delays, for God it is not, it is grace- a time for repentance and conversion (2 Pet. 3:9). To know more about Spiritual Time and use it for your advantage in making effective and Powerful Prayers, CLICK HERE.

TASK: Child of God to learn the right attitude to Work and Prayer which involves: Faith, Hope and Love read now Habbakuk 1: 1-4 and 2: 1-4 and learn from the prophet how to Pray. He complained to the Lord like we all do, but he also waited to hear the Lord speak to him. This is important because after praying you must wait in Hope; and while you wait, you must serve your brothers and sisters in Love.

©Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ

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  1. Thank you so much Padre for this
    Happy Sunday to you

    1. Happy Sunday..thanks and God bless you. Please share

  2. Gratidão por nós encorajar a esperar com esperança, vigiar com fé acessa. Paz e bem, padre Simon!

    1. Grazie cara, Dio ti benedica sempre per legere. Non dimentica di condividere agli altri.


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