During Advent, we prepare to welcome Jesus at Christmas – and at the end of the world
Reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent (December 1, 2019): IS 2:1-5; PS 122:1-2,3-4,4-5,6-7,8-9; ROM 13:11-14; MT 24:37-44
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this first day of Advent, we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Son of God.
We think, naturally, of the observance of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. While we are eager to celebrate Christmas, we are also called in this season to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. In the Gospel reading today, we hear our Lord tell His disciples that they must always be ready for the Last Day. “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.… So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Matthew 24:42, 44).
It is hardly surprising that we prefer to focus on the joy of the Nativity of the Holy Infant rather than on that unknown and unknowable day when Christ will return as our Judge. But, just as He was trying to convince His listeners that they must live each day as though it were to be the last, we must understand and accept this truth as well. Jesus loves us so much that He gave His life for our sake. He wants us to recognize our responsibility to live as He does – guided always by love. And that is just as true on this day and on the day that we die – and even at the end of the world. We each get to decide our eternity every moment of our time on earth. If we choose to walk in the way of our Lord, we have nothing to fear. During this Advent, let us contemplate how we live, what decisions we make, and why we make them. As we get ready for the loveliness and wonder of Christmas morning, let us think about Christ on His cross as well as in the crib. Let us thank God for all He has given us – and consider all that He asks of us, His beloved children. We must resolve to gratefully and willingly put God first.