First Sunday of Advent
Readings (click here for the Sunday readings)
Gospel: Mk 13:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
A Vocations Angle
This First Sunday of Advent the Church invites us all to be watchful, to be alert. What are we to be watchful for? Nothing other than the manifestation of God’s presence in our lives. A presence that is so personal to each and every one of us and is never the same. God’s presence to us is always new, it is always changing because it is shown through a real and abiding relationship.
In working with men and women discerning their vocation the common question is, “How do I know my vocation?” Often times young people look for signs as confirmation of a particular calling. Their prayer and discernment may be consumed with looking for signs that they end up placing themselves at the center of their own calling. They end up trying to “figure out” God’s call through rational thought and logical syllogisms. If God does x then I’ll do y. This is not how one comes to know their vocation. This only leads to confusion.
So, how does one come to know his or her vocation? By watching, by being alert to God’s presence. This often takes place in silent prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament as we gaze upon Jesus gazing upon us in a real relationship of love in the divine presence.
I remember when I was searching for deeper meaning in my life prior to seminary. I began to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration in the early morning hours. I went to the adoration chapel at St. Matthew’s parish in Hillsboro a few times a week from 3 – 4 am before work. I wouldn’t do much while in prayer. I would simply watch and be alert. It was in those early mornings of watching Jesus that a deep love welled up in my heart, a love that was personal and was only for me. God’s personal love was shared in the depths of silence and the early morning watching. I was overcome with joy and peace, like time stopped and I was all that mattered in the universe.
That early morning was very blessed and from sharing in God’s presence I knew I had to respond. The only thing that came to mind as a response was the idea of priesthood. A response of total love to the one who loves me totally, without conditions. That time of watching early in the morning hours paved the way for my vocation as a priest of Jesus Christ for which I am so grateful for today. I wouldn’t change it for anything!
As we move into the Advent Season, I encourage us all to make prayer a priority in our daily life. Simply be alert and watch for God’s divine presence that he so ardently desires to share with you at every moment of the day. Our vocation then becomes our personal response to the divine presence in our lives. Nothing we figure out on our own but a response of love from deep within.
During this time of pandemic, it is very difficult to get to Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. This offers a wonderful opportunity to watch with Jesus in the silence of our own homes. Each day during this Advent Season spend some quiet time at home with Jesus in the Sacred Scriptures. Watch how he relates to others in the scriptures and be alert to how he relates to you during the day. For tips on praying with Sacred Scripture go to the Disposition section of our website under 3D Discernment.
Have a blessed Advent Season!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Jeff Eirvin
Practical parish resources for the First Sunday in Advent:
Prayer of the Faithful
That the hearts and minds of those called to serve the Lord as priests, deacons and in the consecrated life will be enriched in Christ and prayerfully graced with abundant spiritual gifts to serve Him, we pray to the Lord.
“We are the clay and you the potter; we are all the work of your hands.” Being chosen to serve as a priest or in the consecrated life is an amazing work of the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit and our Blessed Mother to help you recognize and be faithful to your vocation. Contact the Vocation Office at (503) 233-8368 or email: email@example.com
For Prayer of the Faithful and Bulletin Blurbs in Spanish go to Resources.