Survey Promo
RVA App Promo Image

Cultivate a warm friendship with the Lord

Background Music: Panalangin
    Written by: Mark Anthony Cuevas
    Voiced by: Arlene Donarber

December 3, the First Sunday of Advent
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest
Daily Readings: First reading: Isaiah 63: 16b-17; 64:1, 3b-8; 1 Cor. 1:3-9; Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

Stay awake! That’s the call we hear from Jesus today. He sums up his thoughts in two words, as if passing on to us a mantra of two sacred words. Stay awake.

He wants us to be truly awake to life, as it opens up every day, every hour, and every minute, all the time, which would also enable us to be awake when death knocks at the door of our lives.

That’s a tough challenge thrown at all of us. If we are thinking about tomorrow, we can’t be awake now. If we are recalling things from yesterday, we can’t be awake now. We have to be awake in the now, not after or before.

Jesus is inviting us to be awake all the time, so that even death becomes incapable of traumatizing us. We know that, just like life, death will come to us unasked.

Maria D’Silva belongs to Sacred Heart Parish. Her father-in-law lives here in Mumbai, and her husband lives in Dubai. Her present task was to take care of her father-in-law, spend a few days here, then fly to her husband and enjoy life together there for a few days. During her last visit, while they were having coffee together and the usual friendly chit-chat, rather unusual to his normal ways, he sat in her lap. She tried to dissuade him from being playful. But he sat unmoved. All of a sudden, she realized that he wasn’t moving because he was sitting dead on her lap. She was shocked, terrified, saddened to the core, cried, and collapsed. To let you know the story, in short, his body was brought back and buried here in Mumbai.

She went on shedding tears of disappointment, bitterness, anger, sadness, and inner turmoil. Gradually, she opened her inner eyes, woke up, and saw life differently. She began to feel grateful to God that the Lord let him sit in her lap before he was taken to his heavenly abode. He is newly awake in her more than ever, she says. He seems to be present everywhere around her. She is staying awake in his presence.

The particular wise suggestion from Jesus is to enable us to be fully alive when we are alive and to be ever-ready for death while being alive. It could come to me while I am doing this reflection about keeping awake. It could come to you while you hear it being read to you. How do we get ready to be awake?

The trouble with ‘now’ is that it is never there, stationary. The only way to be in the now is not to think but to be aware of what is going on in silence and meditation. We know one thing about Jesus, especially from the Gospel of Luke: in the evenings, he went up to the mountains to lonely places, and in the mornings, he came down to meet and be with the people.

That is the one thing he chose to create an attitude of practicing ' staying awake’. Don’t we remember how fully awake he was, even at the cross? As he publicly told his companion on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise”.

In the Gospel of Mark, as given in Chapter 6, after feeding the 5000, he advised his disciples to get into the boat and to go to the other side towards Bethsaida. They had nothing to do but take time to relax and be alone on the other side. He did not join them. After sending them away, he went by himself to the hillside to pray.

What struck me was the fact that he did not go with the disciples, nor did he take them with him. He wanted to be all by himself. They were sent to the other side to be alone by themselves. No instructions were given to them as to what they should do. He knew that in the silence of nature, they would gradually learn the art of being awake, even in the physical absence of the Master.

The suggestion from Jesus for us today is to find time, go to our own lonely places, and learn quietly the art of staying awake.

Let these two words keep ringing in your minds today: 'Stay awake.’


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.