“Be watchful, be alert!” On this first Sunday of Advent, Jesus gives us a resounding message of hope - that our Savior is coming and that God has a plan. Advent is all about preparation to meet the Lord: at Christmas, in the Sacraments, and at the end of all things. That last one usually gives people trouble. Many people often view the second coming of our Lord with a bit of trepidation. After all, that will literally be the end of the world. And yet, we who live by faith know this to be a good thing! After all, we’re not made for this world, we’re made for a new one in Christ. We just have to make preparations to embrace it here and now. If we do so, that same message becomes one of hope and promise. How?
Imagine you’re a musician, practicing away for a big violin solo with a major orchestra. When the concert comes, you have to stay awake and be alert! You can’t miss your big moment. You might even feel nervous. That’s normal. However, if you’ve put in the hours of practice beforehand, you’ll likely feel something more: excitement and hope. Now is the chance to shine, and you’re ready for it. When the moment comes, you sing out in stunning beauty. All your hard work and sacrifice blossoms into something spectacular. But you have to put in that work first, and be ready for your moment.
Similarly, we prepare to meet Christ and practice for that moment in hope whenever we pray, when we recognize Christ present in the Scriptures, the Eucharist, our parish, and in the poor and our neighbor. Every act of prayer, service, or sacrifice offered becomes a moment to wake up and prepare for the big moment in hope.
Porto Charities is no stranger to this hope. We’re dedicated to putting in the hard work to see Christ present in every person and practicing to help them shine in our schools and in the workforce.
For our part in this first week of Advent, we can reflect: How are our preparations going to meet the Lord? Perhaps we can start simple - make a plan to get to Confession this Advent to purify our vision and rekindle our hope. Then, for this week, perhaps challenge yourself to do one selfless act per day as a sign of encountering Christ present in those before you.