Advent opens with the theme of HOPE. Yet, our readings for today offer little. In fact, it sounds more like a lecture one would receive from their parent. To understand today’s readings, it may be helpful to look back to last Sunday’s gospel when Jesus speaks to San Dimas. While on the cross, San Dimas says to Jesus “remember me when you go into your Kingdom.” San Dimas, also known as the repentant thief teaches us a lesson on remembering that contributes to our understanding of today’s Gospel. The author of Matthew depended on the memory of the Jewish Christian audience to remember the story of Noah and the Flood. What was the audience going to remember about this dark story, where even God had regretted ever creating human beings?
Advent Reflection by Ashade Varlene Attis
10th-grade scholar Ashade highlights how the story of Noah is about a Covenant, a promise for those who obey God. Ashade writes:
God creates a covenant with Noah, promising that he will never flood the Earth again. God makes this covenant because he knows that human beings will continue to do bad things.
The story of Noah is not strictly about the darkness of falling into sin, but also about a God who is faithful to those who, as St. Paul says, “conducts themselves in an orderly way.” God’s covenant with Noah, despite God’s acceptance of humanity’s imperfection, is reason to wait in hope.
Jesus in the gospel doesn’t just tell us, he commands us not just to wait but to “stay awake!” What does it mean to stay awake? Staying awake requires one to remember what is actively going on to be prepared for whatever may come, even if it’s a flood. In biblical language, “to remember” means “to act on behalf of someone else.” The work that is done at Cristo Rey Boston remembers what is at stake: the future of our students. Through the work of the staff and faculty, CRB not only prepares students to get into college but also through college. The orderly model of formative education and work experience equips students with the tools to remember their call to live with dignity, to work towards growth, continue in perseverance, and live generously. These tools offer hope, not only for us as a school community but also for the world.
As we begin Advent, we light the first candle to illuminate the darkness of our times. It is up to us to remember to stay awake and keep the light of candles alive through our “acting on behalf of others.” As for the promise that awaits those who keep the light burning, we must continue to wait and be ready. But in the meantime, how are you acting on behalf of others? How are you actively staying awake and keeping the light shining in the darkness of our times?