Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Happy New Year!!! Yes we begin a new year in out liturgical calendar today. So it is our New Year’s Day. We are entering into the season of Advent. As the word means it is a time of waiting and preparing for the coming, the coming of our Lord.
Advent is the season when we call to mind the terrible situation that the world was in before Jesus came. Only by appreciating it can we celebrate with proper joy Jesus’ coming on the first Christmas. But Advent is more than that. It is also the season when we call to mind that Jesus will come again. He will judge each one of us; personally, on how well we contributed to the work that he let us complete.
You and I are living in the interval between the lightning of Jesus’ first coming and the thunder of his second coming. What the angel said to the apostles right after Jesus was taken up into heaven applies to us too: “Why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11).
For several weeks we have been listening about the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus. Did it make any change in us? Do we think we need to take action to prepare ourselves? No. Do you know why? Because we all consider us as good Christians. But the question is with whom do we compare ourselves? Do we compare ourselves with Jesus or the Gospel or the Teachings of the Church or any of the saints? If we do so we will see ourselves as far off from our true selves. If we consider ourselves with the characters in movies and TV shows and the celebrities and politicians then we are little saints walking on earth. But we have to compare ourselves with Jesus and saints.
Our job on earth, as we wait for Jesus’ return, is not to be satisfied by becoming better than the worst of our society. Rather, it is to roll up our sleeves and complete the work Jesus gave us to do. We are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger in our midst, work for peace, and love one another as Jesus loved us. Advent is a time when we check to see how well we, personally, are doing this. Advent is a time when we remember, in a special way, that Jesus will come again in glory to judge us on what we have done and what we have failed to do in this absence.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Until he does, we must walk in the light and complete the job he gave us. This is what Advent is all about. It is not just a time to get ready to celebrate the first coming of Jesus. It is also a time to get ready to celebrate the second coming of Jesus. Paul puts it this way in the second reading: “Our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near.” Therefore, “cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light.”
Advent challenges us to ask ourselves three important questions: What are we doing – right now – to build God’s kingdom on earth? What ought we to be doing – right now? What will we begin to do – right now – on this first Sunday of Advent?
Let us close with a prayer:
God our Father, your Son became one of us. He saved us from the terrible catastrophe to which sin has doomed us all. He will come again to judge us all on how well we, personally, have tried to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, love one another as he loved us.
God Bless You,