STAY AWAKE, and BE prepared

December 1, 2019 – First Sunday of Advent

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Homily shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR (a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary in South Korea)

A mother once knocks at his son’s door and have this following exchange of words. “Son, wake up,” the mother said. The son replied: “Mom, I don’t want to get up.” “Son, Get up now. You have to go to the church today,” mother continued. The son replied, “I don’t want to go to church today”. “Why not?” mom asked. The son snapped, “I will give you three reasons: “I’m too young to go church, it’s dull and boring, and people there don’t like me.” But the mom persisted, “Now, I will give you three reasons you should go to the church. You are already 30 years old, and have to be there today, because it’s your wedding day. So, Wake up and get up now. You are already grown up, enough to just go back to sleep again. 

Which is more difficult nowadays: to lay down and go asleep in the evening or to get up and stay awake in the morning? Waking up and getting up in the morning, and staying awake the whole day have always been our daily struggle these days. We always want to go back to sleep. All day long there is a longing in us to go back to bed and sleep again. Even when we are up and awake, we still have bouts of daydreams and musings the whole day through. That is why we have a Filipino saying: Mahirap gisingin ang taong gising. “It is not easy to wake up someone who is already awake”. In other words, how can you wake up someone who is already awake?

We may not only be dealing here about our getting up physically in the morning and the whole day through, but this may also be true about getting up and staying awake in our whole life.  This may also be about how awake and aware are we in living our lives. As we go through our lives, there are many moments that we are more asleep than awake. Habitually we may have found ourselves already physically awake but still actually unaware, out of sync, lukewarm, numb, and out of touch of reality. In life, we find ourselves usually in situations where we are already but still – that is, already awake yet still asleep. It is like, you already realize your mistake, but still doing the same mistake all over again. Same way as that son, who is already awake but still find reasons and excuses not to get up but to go back to sleep. 

Waking up and staying awake in life may be a struggle but it is also a choice. In other words, “to get up and stay awake OR to go back and remain asleep” in life is perhaps the first decision we have to struggle with and make everyday in life. What is significant here is not only the action and decision taken but moreso on the awareness, realization and choice of the present NOW in facing life. Since now you know your mistake, now you have the choice to continue the same mistake or do something about it. Since you know NOW you are old enough to go to church today because it’s your wedding day or your Lord’s Day, you may get up OR to go back asleep. 

This is why on the first Sunday of Advent in preparation for the coming Christmas day, the Lord has very simple message to us: STAY AWAKE, and BE prepared.

Human as we are, the Lord knows that we rather stay asleep than awake in life. He recognizes that we are already awake yet at times mostly asleep in life. He also knows however that we do have the choice NOW whether to stay awake or asleep. That is why He is particularly calling us to Stay awake, be prepared, get up and go forward for He promises that there are more and better in life yet to come.  His words in our gospel today are not His warning but a wake-up call to us. 

To remain awake and stay aware in life, is indeed a struggle yet a choice. But if we continue to heed and do our part in the Lord’s invitation of staying awake and being aware now in our life, we will see more and eventually become witnesses to fullness of life God can offer us. Or else… we miss again the chance.

As the Lord reminds us today: Therefore, Stay awake and be prepared… for the Son of Man will come.”  In other words, Hoy Gising … Wake up for I am coming.

May the Lord shake and disturb us from our spiritual slumber and laziness these weeks of Advent so that we are prepared enough to welcome Him again in our life now and ahead. Amen. 


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