By: Chad Hyatt
Matthew 24:36-44
Reflection—v. 42 ‘keep awake’

Advent seems like a strange time to talk about Apocalypse. But whether we are tempted to look ahead to the Second Coming or look back at the nativity of Jesus, Matthew seems to suggest that we ought to be looking around. The truth is it is always Advent—for Jesus is always coming to save us. Matthew’s question for his contemporaries and for us is ‘Can we see it?’ In the same way, and with my deepest apologies to the famous director, it is always Apocalypse now. We are called to do a double-take—to look for the ways Christ is coming to us in the present and to look for the truth about the world in which we live and the systemic powers that hold sway over human life. Christ comes to us in many ways, certainly in the sacraments and in his body, our community of faith. But I think we are least likely to see him coming to us in the ‘least of these’—in the poorest and the outcast, in our suffering sisters and brothers. We fail to see the systems that impoverish and cause human suffering, even as those systems work among us every day. The truth is human beings are thrust to the margins more by systems than by personal actions. Yet we struggle to see it because one of the false claims of our culture is a kind of pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps hyper-individualism. We are too groggy to wake up and fully see the systems that continue to put to death the Christ who comes to us in the poor. May we awake this Advent season.

Prayer: God of life, awaken us.

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