Throw off the works of darkness

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of conversion, in a somewhat similar vein like Lent. However while Lent focuses on Christ’s death, in Advent we focus on His birth. Both are critical events in humanity’s salvation history. In Christ’s birth He took on human flesh so as to redeem our nature from sin, in His death He destroyed sin and liberated us from its shackles. (This is not to say sin no longer exists, for it clearly does. But His death gives us the means to overcome it.)

The Second Reading from the Mass for today exhorts us to cast off sin.

Romans 13:11-14: “Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”

As alcoholics and addicts who seek to obtain and sustain sobriety, we have character defects to be rid of. They were the mark of our addiction, and now sober we strive for a better life. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that we have to “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” for salvation is near. St. Paul might have thought that Jesus was to return in his lifetime, He clearly didn’t. But as Jesus Himself said in the Gospel for today’s Mass:

Matthew 24:42: “For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”

And so it is today. We must prepare for the arrival of the Lord. Whether it is the memorial of His Nativity and we prepare by going to Confession and amending our lives or the actual, real end-times Second Coming, Jesus is near and we must be ready.

Note: all Scripture passages courtesy of USCCB.

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