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sunriseA wonderful Jesuit spiritual writer, Anthony DeMello, coined a phrase in the 1980’s that has endured to the present time. He called it “wake up spirituality.” Today’s readings could be used as a “proof text” for what DeMello was saying. Paul says to the Romans, “You know the time; it is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, [to] cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is short and not so sweet in his wording. He simply says: “STAY AWAKE!” We know that neither of these readings is suggesting that we “pull an all-nighter” but it was the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures that gave me the deepest insight into the power of today’s message. Although Paul intimates that being awake is more than just “being there” and recognizing the choice of good rather than evil, Isaiah’s vision includes a time when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” That’s pretty specific and full of transformative images. No going back from this time and place. No raising sword or spear against another because there are none left. They’ve been turned to more peaceful uses. And no training for war ever again. In this peaceable kingdom we will only find creatures of light, living as we were always meant to live, treating one another with unconditional love. What better way to spend this month in anticipation of Christmas? Waking up, staying awake, getting reading for the birth of love incarnate.