Editor’s note: Advent begins Dec. 3. Father Ken Kirkman will be offering weekly reflections at thecatholicsun.com to help us all prepare our hearts and minds during this season of anticipation and hope. This is the first reflection in the series.

In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus instructs us, “Be watchful! Be alert!” The whole Advent season is marked by watching and waiting. Today, that is often a tough sell. Any of us who have been caught in the slow checkout line at the grocery store or the bank have probably found that the longer we wait, the more frustrated we feel. We try to distract ourselves with our phones or anything to take our minds off of our waiting. And all too often, we find that what we were waiting for fails to satisfy us. We leave disappointed, telling ourselves it wasn’t worth the wait.

What we are hoping for at the end of this season, however, is always worth the wait: the coming of Jesus Christ was worth all the centuries His people waited. And if that’s the case, rather than distracting ourselves, we should try to wait well. The readings for Advent provide so much fruit for our reflection, especially by showing how the people of Israel waited for the Messiah and kept watch. This Advent, dive deep into the Word of God so that our time of waiting might prepare us for the joys that never end. 

Father Kirkman serves as parochial vicar of St. Mary and St. Anthony of Padua in Cortland.

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