There is nothing like expecting an old friend to show up whom you haven’t seen for some time. The anticipation is palpable. We make sure everything is in order. We make sure that we look our best, prepare the best, and that we are on top of every little detail. We want to make a good impression, and make it last, no matter what the cost. Advent is that anticipation. And the “old friend” is Jesus Christ. Oh yes, we have been around Him many times before, but as time goes on, our love and devotion wanes. And so it’s time to refocus our relationship and reshape our spiritual game plan. Advent reminds us that life is about preparation, as we hear in today’s Gospel. Jesus spoke of his return in glory at the end of time as a certain fact. Many of His parables dealt with this common theme of being ready, being awake, being attentive, being on guard. God knows our struggles and challenges, yet He gives us the grace and help wherever we need it. But there is one excuse that God will not accept from us – that is trying to pass off personal responsibility for our lives and for our decisions to someone else. God judges each of us individually according to how we have responded to His gracious invitation to live for His kingdom. No one can discharge his or her duty by proxy or association. God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet the Lord when He returns in His glory. He gives us fresh hope each day so we can keep our eyes on the eternal reward waiting for us. On this First Sunday of Advent we accept the invitation to be re-awakened and revitalized!