Readings for today: Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14, 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2, Luke 21:25-28,34-36.
We must remain vigilant in our daily lives, praying to God for the strength to endure all trials, awaiting the day when Jesus Christ returns in glory.
First Reading: The Lord speaks through Jeremiah here, speaking of the fulfillment of a promise made to Israel and Judah: a righteous shoot being raised from the lineage of David, one who shall do what is right and just. God says that Judah will be safe and Jerusalem will be secure. This promise is to be fulfilled in Jesus, born of the house of David, who shall obey the will of the Father in all things.
Second Reading: This excerpt from Paul's letter is a reminder to the church in Thessaly to remain strong in heart and to exercise proper conduct, so as to be seen blameless in holiness before God at the return of Jesus. This is apropos for the Advent season as we wait for the birth of our Savior. The hymn People, Look East comes to mind here: Make your house fair as you are able / Trim the hearth and set the table / ... / Love, the Guest, is on the way. As Advent is a season of anticipation, we should follow the advice of Paul to remain strong in heart and to conduct ourselves in a manner pleasing to God.
Gospel: The Gospel reading has two parts. In the first, Jesus is warning his disciples of signs that will accompany the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (Luke 21:27). This discourse is familiar because we heard it from Mark's perspective (Mark 13:24-32) only two weeks ago. But the reading today continues with the second half, which is a warning from Christ to the disciples not to be caught off-guard. Jesus warns them against laziness and drunkenness, and hearkens them to be vigilant and to pray to God for the strength to persevere. Paul has echoed the sentiments of Jesus here: be alert, do not be weighed down by your daily lives, pray for strength.