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The first weeks of Advent focus more on the Lord’s second coming in glory than on His first coming at Bethlehem. The Gospel clearly states that we must always be prepared, for at an hour we do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Ready” is the key word. But how should we be ready?

The second reading from today’s Mass (Romans 13:11-14) gives us a basic recipe for readiness. We can distinguish five fundamental instructions in Paul’s recipe.

Wake up – The text says, … you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, …St. Paul has more in mind here than physical sleep. But consider for a moment some of the aspects of physical sleep. When we sleep we are unaware of what is taking place around us or even of what weare doing. A family member might tell us, “When you were sleeping you were mumbling and snoring!” “Really?” we might reply, “I didn’t realize I was doing that!” Another time we might doze off in front of the television and miss the game-winning touchdown or the critical scene that helped the movie to make sense. Further, when we are asleep our minds are dreamy and confused. Some of the craziest things happen in dreams because the more rational part of the brain is asleep; any absurd thought might manifest itself and seem perfectly understandable. But when we finally doawake, we think, “What wasthatall about?”

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