Sunday is the beginning of Advent. Advent is the beginning of the year of the Christian calendar. Where the world sees Advent as a countdown to Christmas the Church sees Advent, as Fleming Rutledge writes as “a seas of the shadows, the season of ‘the works of darkness,’ the season in which the church looks straight down into its own heart and finds there- the absence of God.” During the darkness of the times, we are called to stay awake, to keep alert, and to do the work that we have been given to do.
In Star Wars: Episode II Attack of The Clones, Obi-Wan goes to the planet of Kamino. It is a planet that has been wiped out of the databanks in the Jedi Temple. No one has heard of it. When Obi-Wan arrives, he finds that the Prime Minister of Kamino is expecting him. What Obi-Wan discovers is that a Jedi Master named Syfo Dyas had previously visited and commissioned the creation of a Clone army. Master Syfo Dyas has been dead for ten years and the installation on Kamino has had no contact with anyone about the mission. Yet, they have continued on their mission knowing that someone could show up at any moment to see their progress.
In Mark 13:33-37, Jesus tells a parable of a man with a large household. He has family members and servants, each with a tasks and responsibility that they are to take care fo each day to ensure the success of the family. The man goes away for a long time with the expectation of returning and finding that the household is working at a high level. The man tells the servants to “Be alert” and to “stay awake” for no one knows the day or hour of his return.
As Christians, we recognize the darkness of the world we live in. We been given a mission to complete in the world. We are to be like the beings on Kamino who are completely focused on their mission even though it has been a decade since the last communication. They worked, hoping that a Jedi Master would return and find them awake, alert, and ready. Our hope is that though the world is dark, the light of Christ will return. We are called to “stay awake” and to stay focused on our mission in order to be ready for the day that Jesus returns. Hope keeps us awake.