Wakeful and Faithful
(First Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 63:16-64:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37)
Every year on the First Sunday of Advent, the Gospel (whether Mark’s, Matthew’s or Luke’s) tells us to “watch,” “be vigilant,” “stay awake” for the Master’s return.
The Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, like most apparitions, serves a similar purpose. It is as though the Blessed Virgin is saying to us, “Open your eyes! Look at what you are doing! Why do you pay no heed? Wake up!”
Just as the Master’s return cannot be predicted, no one could have anticipated such an event as an apparition in such a remote place. No one could have expected either Mélanie Calvat or Maximin Giraud, of all people, to have such an encounter and bring back such a surprising message.
Yet, when Mary says, “If the harvest is ruined, it is only on account of yourselves,” does not her voice resonate with the words of Isaiah: “You have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt”? What a dreadful prospect!
In both instances, God’s people were taking him for granted. They never expected that God would really abandon them. They were, after all, his people. He had a responsibility to them.
What they forgot, precisely, is that they were his people, that they had a responsibility also to him. Here again we see the prophetic character of La Salette, as the Beautiful Lady speaks of warnings given in the past, of the lack of fidelity in her people’s lives, of the need for submission.
The image of servants is one of submission. Their one responsibility is to carry out their master’s will faithfully, ideally out of love for the master, like the Christians of Corinth, to whom St. Paul writes: “You are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Later in the same letter, he emphasizes that the gifts are meant to be put to use for the good of the community.
Let us be faithful, wakeful servants, lovingly submissive, waiting not in fear but in joyful anticipation and expectation that the Lord will indeed reveal himself to us in new ways in this new liturgical year.