Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: Be watchful, Be alert, when the Lord ... is coming

To the point: Jesus’ admonition “Be watchful! Be alert!” was spoken to hearers holding heightened expectation that the Messiah was about to come to restore israel to its former power, wealth, and glory. This limited expectation prevented them from recognizing Jesus as the Messiah already among them. In our Advent watchfulness, what are we looking for, and whom do weexpect? To answer these questions in all their implied fullness, we must broaden our limited expectations not only about Advent but even about God’s presence to us in our daily living.

Connecting the Gospel …

… to the First Reading: Both the first reading and second readings affirm God’s utter faithfulness in gifting us with “the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “awesome deeds we could not hope for,” and continued loving care: God delivers us from guilt and sin and enriches us in every way in Christ.

… to experience: When we have expectations, we are watchful and alert; without expectations, we easily become faint and lackluster. This Sunday’s gospel reminds us that if we want to be watchful and alert for Christ’s coming, we must develop heightened expectation for God’s continuing gift of divine Presence.


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson