Weekly Homilies

Be Watchful! Be Alert! (Mark 13:33-37)

December 03, 2023 Fr. Mark Suslenko Season 7 Episode 1
Be Watchful! Be Alert! (Mark 13:33-37)
Weekly Homilies

Hi everyone, and welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We are part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and this is Episode 1 of Season 7 for the First Sunday of Advent: Dec. 3, 2023. Our Gospel reading is from Mark Chapter 13, verses 33-37.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

The Gospel of the Lord. 

“Be Watchful! Be Alert!” by Father Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut

Advent is really a very sacred season of time, a sacred season of time.  During this sacred season of time, we are asked to look back in time to that wonderful event of the incarnation, when God became one of us in Jesus Christ. We're asked to look forward in time to that unknown time when Christ will come in the fullness of his presence as King of the universe and take all things to himself. We look back, and we look forward.  The sacred season of time.

Our relationship with time, in general, is often very precarious because time, rather than being our friend, can very easily become our enemy.  We can easily find ourselves doing battle with time. Either there's not enough of it or we have too many things to fit into a small place of time, or we're running out of time. 

Time can easily become our enemy. That very thing we struggle with the most, time itself, can also be the greatest blessing and be the most sacred of moments because God, in all of his eternity, comes to us in time. And so this advent season calls us to awaken ourselves a bit, to look at how we use our time, and to bring ourselves back to the basics of who we are and who God is to sift through some of that clutter in our lives and reestablish our priorities once again. As we look within ourselves as human beings, we have to admit that we long for what we do not have, that there is this basic emptiness, this longing in the depth of the human soul that defies being satisfied by any earthly desire, although we sometimes think that those earthly desires can quench that longing. But Advent reminds us once again that we are on a greater journey.  

During this sacred time of Advent, we're reminded of who we are, what the purpose of life really is, and where we're going. We're encouraged once again to awaken that desire for God as the source of my fulfillment and my happiness, to awaken that longing for him, and then place ourselves in a posture of waiting for his return to come.  

Putting ourselves in that posture of waiting can be a challenge indeed because we don't like to wait. And in trying to wait for our hearts and our souls to be desired, we can get so distracted by trying to put other things in the place of God and to find that fulfillment in places other than in his presence. And so we wrestle with our journey of satisfaction.  

Advent reminds us that we must each of us and kindle our own desire for Jesus Christ. Not because someone has told us to do so or we feel that we ought to, but because we truly, with all our heart, mind, and soul, want him to be the source of our happiness and our fulfillment. It is an opportunity once again to bring ourselves back, to look at how we structure our lives and how we put things in order, to prioritize things a bit differently so that we're more fully living out of our truth of who we are, of who God is and what the true purpose of our life is meant to be. And so during these very few days of sacred time, because they are short indeed, maybe try to create that holy space so that we can listen. Listen for how God breaks into our lives and taps us on our shoulders to remind us that he is there with moments of inspiration, moments of awe, moments of wonder, moments of connection, and moments of love. But if we are so caught up in the stuff of our lives and always doing battle with time itself, then these sacred moments of time, which can often surprise us, will go unnoticed and unheeded, but done so with simplicity of mind, heart, and spirit, and an openness to receive God when he does come. They can be moments of great sacred joy in which we find that which we truly long for and desire with all of our hearts and kindle, this Advent season, a deep desire for your God as the source of your fulfillment and ultimate happiness, and wait with all earnestness and watch for the day of his coming without delay. 

Father Mark Suslenko is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community at www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us.