As we begin Advent, we prepare to celebrate the commemoration of the first coming of Christ two millennia ago. More than that, we look ahead to His Second Coming at the end of time.
Reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent (November 27, 2022): 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 “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Clearly, Christ wants us to “stay awake” and pay attention to what is happening around us throughout our lives. But even more important is what is happening within us. Are we ready to meet our Lord at our own death? On the last day?
Happy New Year! On this First Sunday of Advent we welcome the new liturgical year. It is a wonderful opportunity to get ready for the birth of our Redeemer at Christmas. But we need to make a genuine effort not to focus on Advent simply as the start of the Christmas season with all the shopping, decorating, partying and everything else that might distract us. We should enjoy those more secular aspects while not letting them outweigh with the great spiritual significance of this time of year. We need to make room within each day to reflect on Jesus’ life among us two thousand years ago -- and how He affects our life right now. Moreover, as we see in the liturgy for today, the Church reminds we also need to look forward to Jesus’ Second Coming. Sometimes called the Parousia from the Greek for “being present,” it means that Christ will return at the end of the world as we know it. This is an important part of the Advent journey, but one that many tend to downplay. However, in the Gospel today, Jesus addressed the necessity for of being ready for Him: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. 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).
Clearly, Christ wants us to “stay awake” and pay attention to what is happening around us throughout our lives. But even more important is what is happening within us. Are we ready to meet our Lord at our own death? On the last day? If we are making a sincere effort to follow in His way, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love God above all, we will have nothing to fear. At the end of time, our Lord will take all those who have loved Him and shared His mercy with others into heaven with Him, body and soul. So as we watch as the candles on the Advent wreath are lighted in church or in our own homes, let us thank God for His undying, unending love.
Suggested missionary action: We can make an Advent promise to put God first in our lives, to seek His will and to live each day with compassion and respect for others. If we put ourselves in His hands, we will find His peace.