First Sunday of Advent


Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
1 Cor 1:3-9
Mk 13:33-37



What is possible is not to see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you.  And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s hindquarters fade in the distance.


So stay.  Linger.  Tarry.  Ponder.  Wait.  Behold.  Wonder.

There will be time enough for running.  For rushing.  For worrying.  For pushing.

For now, stay.  Wait.

Something is on the horizon.

- Jan L. Richardson Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas.


I am often amazed how simple it is to miss the beautiful moments that surround me – the smile of a stranger, a word of affection from a friend, the way the sun melts into the horizon, or the ever-excited love my dog pours on me every time I come home.  I often find myself distracted by a world that asks me to do more and be more.  I get caught up in the busy humdrum of the work day, and I am so exhausted by the end of it that all my mind can handle is a quick Netflix binge, (an oxymoron, I know) and then my head hits the pillow searching for rest.  Sometimes even falling asleep is a daunting task – trying to rush myself into restfulness (another oxymoron), aware that the longer I stay awake, the fewer hours of sleep I’ll get.  Inevitably, the stress of counting those fading minutes causes me to stay awake longer, and my mind continues to race while rest eludes me.

Lately, I’ve been praying for God to interrupt my busy and hectic life, to infuse into my daily tasks an awareness of God’s presence.  I’ve been praying for a spirituality that notices those simple, exquisite, mysterious moments I often ignore.  And I’ve been praying to sit with those moments, to linger on them, to chew on them, to experience the infinite for just a moment.

Advent is an invitation into wonder, but wonder requires time.  And time is a commodity I often believe I can’t afford.  So, sometimes I miss those moments of God’s revelation.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us to keep watch, to keep alert, lest we miss the moment God reveals Godself to us.  Maybe I’ve missed a few moments of God’s self-revelation today.  Maybe I didn’t notice God in that stranger, in that affirmation, in that sunset, in my dog jumping into my arms.  Maybe I forgot to sit in wonder.  And yet God’s invitation still stands.  How many more opportunities await to find God today? 


Charles Mansour, ‘07
Director of Immersions
Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
Santa Clara University