Vincent EucharistFirst Sunday of Advent (A), December 1, 2013 – Is 2, 1-5; Rom 13, 11-14; Mt 24, 37-44

Gird your loins and light your lamps (Lk 12, 35)

If we remember, in whatever we do, the end of our life, we will never sin (Sir 7, 36).  The future will not catch us off guard if we live in its presence.  If we who embark on a new beginning do not lose sight of the end, we will be less susceptible to deceptions.

The end of life, of course, is not the same as death.  Undoubtedly, we are dust and to dust we will return, and the grave is closer each day.  But we remember this, not so we may be frightened, but rather in order to be motivated to live humbly and contritely before the only most high and most holy Lord.

Such a life would make no sense should everything end with death; we would really be the most pitiable people of all.  But we believe that death is not our final destination.  Hence, we strive to live up to the example and teachings of Jesus.  We reject the counsel of the world, resisting sensual passions, the lust of the eyes and the pretentious life.  We live aware of our salvation being nearer now.

We are preparing, yes, for something beyond death.  Awaiting us in the hereafter is the life God wants for us and about which Isaiah prophesies:  a life of security, peace, justice, solidarity and acceptance.  It will be the everlasting life of union with God and vision of him, and of complete satisfaction of our desire (St. Thomas Aquinas).

And it will be illogical of us not to endeavor to live in accordance with what we joyfully await and bear in mind.  The vision impels us here and now:  no more desires or works of darkness; no looking out for only our own interests; no domination over anybody nor vigilantism.  The Son of Man who is coming for the final judgment urges us to be compassionately vigilant, to help in every way the insecure, the victims of war and calamities, the strangers and excluded, and to see to it that others help them as well.

And with regard to collaboration, even though we note, like St. Vincent de Paul, that women, by an unknown working of Providence, have been deprived of public ecclesiastical role, we are not going to whine and fret.  Rather, we will let ourselves be guided by the same Providence and welcome them as partners in the service of the poor (Coste XIII, 809-810).  So, while others worry about church politics, church structures and church documents, the Vincentian strategy for church rebuilding will consist in serving the poor and giving thus witness to what is really important (cf. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.).

It is important that we receive the one at the door, so he may have supper with us and we with him.

Ross Reyes Dizon