My adorable and inquisitive 5-year-old godson, Dayo, recently asked me to get him a wristwatch. He was fascinated by the features, especially the lights on my Fitbit wristwatch. He wanted to know how the buttons function and it was fun showing him. What functions do timepieces serve? It helps us to keep a record of the time of day. Watches also help us to set up alarms, prompt reminders for important events. My watch (my cell phone watch) for instance is set up to wake me up at certain consistent times and to remind me of important hours of prayers like 3.00 pm Divine Mercy hour and 12 pm and 6 pm Angelus prayer. Watches keep us on alert and to map out time. They remind us of getting ready for a function. I sometimes oversleep when my watch alarm is not set to wake me up. I have occasionally missed my Divine Mercy prayer because my watch alarm was not set for 3 pm. Not waking up at the right time or missing prayer times can have unpleasant consequences.
Not being alert or on the watch for the coming of Jesus can have devastating consequences. Advent Season helps us to trigger the attitude of a watch person. It is a season of waiting and watching for the coming of Jesus Christ which we celebrate liturgically at Christmas. How do we keep alert and on the watch for the coming of Our Savior? There are a couple of suggestions: Prayer, Meditation, and Reconciliation. Lack of prayers places our watchfulness in sleep mode. Distraction from total focus on the Lord of Life, Jesus the Christ puts us to spiritual sleep. A broken relationship with God and neighbors through sin leads to sleep of death. We can avoid being found asleep in these spiritual ways by keeping watch always and especially during this season of Advent through intentional constant prayers, meditations on Sacred Scriptures, and Sacrament of Confession.
Due to the pandemic, we will not have a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation this year. What I plan to do is offer more opportunities to hear confessions on other days in the week other than Saturday afternoon and Thursday evening as I currently do. Confessions between Sunday masses in Advent will return this Sunday. Be on the lookout for additional days for confession on the parish website, Facebook page, and bulletin. Be on the watch!
By the way, I got my godson a wristwatch. He likes the lights that come up at the press of the button. Do you have your watches on? What steps do you plan to take to be watchful during this Advent? Do you have a family Advent Wreath? Do you plan to have time for family prayers and reading of the Bible? Do you have plans to come with the family to confession before Christmas? I say this to you and to all: “Watch!” (Mark 13:37).
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Bernard, OP