Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
November 29, 2020
© t0m15
First Sunday of Advent
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
Mark 13:11-37
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The First Sunday of Advent always proclaims a most unlikely Gospel. The readings come from what scholars called, “the End-time Discourse”. The imagery always revolves around judgement, vigilance, and fidelity. Jesus seems to be preparing his disciples, and anyone who would listen, for the impending judgment day, the Day of Wrath. We might be surprised the Advent Season begins with the warning the end is near. Interestingly, Advent begins with the proclamation the End is coming while it concludes with the Birth through which everything begins anew. Old endings are always new beginnings.

According to Mark 13: 11-37 (the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent), Jesus invites his disciples to be watchful and alert in the time of trouble. Jesus is not suggesting they be concerned simply for their own wellbeing but attentive to the needs of others. They are to care for the household of the community. Remember every day is Judgment Day. Not a day goes by when we do not make judgments about how helpful we might be in the service and care of other people. We need to be vigilant in case someone needs a drink of water, a kind friend, or a gentle prayer. Advent calls us to be alert, vigilant, and watchful.
One day, when I was a little boy, my life almost came to an end. I ran out into the street to catch a ball not seeing an on-coming car. My mother screamed and came running over to me. The car whizzed by as my mother held me tight. She cried, “I almost lost you!” She was vigilant for me in ways I wished I could be vigilant for everyone I meet. This is what the Gospel means when Jesus invites us to be “awake.” 
Every day is filled with danger. During this time of pandemic, we are called to be vigilant and awake. We are called to watch out for one another. Our practice of physical distancing is the sign of our spiritual intimacy. Our practice of solitude reveals how much we love those we hold dear. 
Every day we hear the sad and heart-breaking news about the illness and death of so many people. We are stunned by the magnitude of the disaster.  Some of us can only cope with the pandemic by denying its reality. 
Advent is not only a season of the year but an attitude of life. The faithful disciples of Jesus realize his presence whenever they encounter another person. Advent does not merely prepare for the commemoration of Christ’s birth on Christmas Day. Advent (vigilance, alertness, and watchfulness) is the virtue we practice each and every day. As a loving parent watches over their children, so we lovingly watch over one another.
Blessed are you, Holy Community, for with the eyes of your heart you seek to be the loving care of Jesus.