The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B for the 1st Week of Advent is Mark 13:33-37.

Having warned the Apostles of the destruction of the Temple, of the persecutions that will come to Christians and the desecration of the Temple, Christ vehemently urges His men to be watchmen who vigilantly prepare for His return and endure to serve Him.

Using a parable to describe His return, Christ (the man, the Master) has ascended to Heaven (went on a journey) and left men (inaccurately translated as “servants”; the Greek word used is “slave”) to vigilantly watch (throughout the night) over the Church (home), giving each man specific responsibilities (work, watch). Christ warns that men should always be prepared for His expected return (not asleep).

Addressed to men, Christ’s call for men to “watch” draws upon men’s natural instinct to be protectors and their roles in society to be watchmen on the walls of the cities; ancient cities were guarded against attack by men who stood watch on the city walls. Christ’s call for men to be on guard at all times is underscored with extreme seriousness with His referral to the all night vigil; He demands extreme and continual vigilance of men. Christ’s referral to Himself as the “Master” and His men as “slaves”, a clear indicator that men need to be humble servants to Him.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Prophet, Christ confirms that He will return (the Second Coming). Divine King, Christ challenges His men, commanding them to vigilantly watch. Divine Teacher, Christ offers parables using worldly experiences to help men grasp and remember His teachings.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at how Christ bluntly prepares men for the challenges of discipleship, commanding them to extraordinary vigilance.

2) Advent (meaning, “coming, approach, arrival of Christ”) is the 4-week liturgical season before Christmas; it is a period of devout and joyful expectation of Christ’s Second Coming but also a time to beg for Christ to come into each man’s daily life. During Advent,  reflect on The Preparations for Christ’s Coming (CCC 522-524) and pray for Christ to help you joyously engage in the Advent season.

3) Men are being seduced by prosperity and an endless supply of media, gaming and pornography; Christ understands and holds men to incredibly high standards. During Advent, renew your commitment for continual Vigilance (CCC 2088, 2621, 2730, 2733, 2849) and pray for Christ to help you be watchful during this Advent season.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Trinity

Virtue of the Day – Charity

Corporal Work of Mercy – To feed the hungry

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To admonish the sinner