…you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light… (Romans 13:11-12, RSV).
These are the words proclaimed in the second reading this first Sunday of Advent. It can be broken down into six stand-alone statements:
- Awake from your sleep! (Ready yourself – the time for resting is over)
- Salvation is near. (The beginnings of salvation – at baptism – is behind you; it is closer at hand than when you began)
- The night is gone. (The time for sleeping – the night, normally – is no more. The night is also traditionally a time for no-good-doers to come out to do their no-good-deeds. Without the night, their efforts are a lot more difficult)
- The day is at hand. (The day is traditionally a time for hard work. Each day is new, and is like a new beginning)
- Cast off the works of darkness. (In the Eastern Rites, the one to be baptized turns from the west (the setting sun) to the east (the rising sun – a symbol of Christ). This turning is a symbolic turning from evil/darkness to the goodness/light of Christ.
- Put on the armor of light. (Get ready for battle)
For each of these statements, you may want to consider them as small admonitions from Saint Paul to you. We may hear him urging us, shaking us out of our complacency to an attitude of vigilance.
Are you vigilant in your prayer life? Advent is a time to take stock of our spiritual life, to move from our lethargy to actively engaging in conversation with God. It is human nature to think there is endless time. We put things off, and yet we are called in the reading of Saint Paul to the Romans to be ready.
Are you ready for the Day that Comes? Put on your armor of God’s light! The time is now.
For some wonderful insights:
A Recipe for Readiness, by Msgr. Charles Pope
Pope Francis calls us to ‘Enlarge our Horizons’
Bishop Barron discusses ‘The Mountain of the Lord’
May your Advent be blessed!