This may to some be a stretch and perhaps I should start by apologizing in advance but I thought this might be worth sharing and so I forge ahead boldly.
As I was listening to the Gospel reading and following along in my Missal this morning at Mass, my mind went to the knockout game we're hearing and reading so much about these days.
Let's first look over the gospel reading for this first Sunday in Advent:
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
If you've not heard to date about the knockout game, you must not be plugged in to any news outlets which in just about every other respect, may not be such a terrible thing... but I digress.
The knockout game is played by thugs and dirtbags preying on the unsuspecting. A victim is identified, targeted, and then sucker punched by a hoodlum while his scumbag friends videotape the entire event. People have died and the phenomenom seems to be spreading.
Experts are advising the civilized to be aware, to be vigilant, to be alert... in essence to be prepared before going out and exposing themselves to what for some has become a deadly game. Many of the victimized were none of these things and paid the price for their unawareness. I imagine that many of us, motivated by love and concern, have communicated words of warning to family and friends, letting them know that they need to be watchful and wise, particularly as Christmas approaches and the shopping season heats up. Words of warning only a fool would be embarrassed to communicate to loved ones.
All of which brings us back to this year's inaugural Advent Gospel lesson where we are warned, by Christ Himself, to stay awake, to be prepared, to not be ignorant, to do that which prevents our being victimized as if by a thief in the night.
It is one thing to be sucker punched by a hoodlum and to suffer the consequences of our inattentiveness. It is quite another not to be prepared for the coming of the Son of Man. Which is worse?
I ask you dear reader, if you've done anything at all to lessen the chances of your being the victim of the knockout game. I ask, more significantly, if you'd done anything to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man?
Sucker punch prevention is a wise thing. Preparation for Christ's coming even more so.
Think on these things with me this first week of Advent.