The readings for this first Sunday of Advent remind us of the continual challenge and fight of faith that comes before the glory. We hear in the Old Testament that the Lord's house is on the highest mountain above all the hills - a mountain that we must climb in order to get there. Not only do we have to climb to get to the Lord's house, but we also must climb so that we can walk in His paths.
Similarly, we hear in the New Testament reading from Romans that it is time to awake from our sleep, put on the armor of Light that is our Lord Jesus Christ, and commit ourselves entirely to Him, leaving no room for our own desires.
Both of these readings call us to ascend - to arise - to the call we have received. Just as St. Joseph received his call in the depths of his slumber, we, too, are being challenged to arise and enter into battle for the Kingdom.
Our Lord is asking us, just as he did his apostles in the garden of Gethsemane, to stay vigilant. There is no doubt we are weary, but in His gracious goodness, our God has provided us armor of Light to protect us against the darkness within the world and ourselves.
The Gospel today exclaims to us this command to stay awake. Yes, command. Our Lord is commanding us to stay awake in this fight because, just as in the days of Noah, we do not know the day or the hour of the second coming of the Son of Man.
As we joyfully anticipate the celebration of our God humbling himself and becoming man for the sake of mankind, may we fight this good fight of faith not with fear but with joyful anticipation of the second coming of the Son of Man. May we seek inspiration from the three wise men who traversed the desert, denying their desires, to present the best gifts they could offer. It is only by climbing this mountain, fighting this fight, and embracing this armor of Light that we can truly walk in His paths so that, when He does come, He can say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."