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The Lord is Coming!

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Dec. 10, 2014

Advent is a season of waiting. Our liturgical year begins with Advent which lasts roughly four weeks, including four Sundays. This holy season has a double thrust, toward the future and toward the past. The flavor, the feel, and the perspective of the whole season of Advent is that of expectation, of anticipation, and, especially, of preparation.

The prayers and readings of the season exhort us to get ready for the Coming of the Lord. Some of these texts hearken back to the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity taking flesh as Baby Jesus in the virginal womb of Mary of Nazareth. This is the memorial aspect of Advent, the thrust toward the past that recalls for us all the prophecies, oracles, types, signs, and events of Salvation History that point to and lead up to the Birth of Our Lord. Advent prepares us for Christmas.   

Advent is also meant to prepare us for the Second Coming of Our Lord and the Last Judgment.The main emphasis of Jesus’ Mission from His Father in His First Coming, 2,000 years ago, was to save us. He came to buy us back from the dominion of sin, death, and the Devil at the price of the shedding of His Own Precious Blood.  On the Day of the Lord (and don’t believe anybody who tells you they’ve figured out when that will be), Jesus is coming again, this time to judge us, and to pay us according to our deeds - Heaven for the just, Hell for the wicked.

This year, we would be wise to assemble an Advent Attitude for ourselves. Advent means Coming, and the word refers to two great works of God. The Father sent His Son at the First Coming, with the Good News of our Redemption. The End will come when Jesus  appears at His Second Coming as Justice Incarnate to recompense all of us, living and dead, Christian and everybody else, according to how we have lived, which means, essentially, how we have loved.  It is good to bear in mind the past (what Jesus did, what He taught, how He lived and died and rose again). It’s good also to look toward the future (that the Judge is coming back someday, like a thief in the night, to give us exactly what we deserve - what we deserve forever). But we must never forget that we are bound to do all our living and choosing and acting in the present. We may give a glance, now and then, backward or forward in time, but our focus must be ever on today - right now. 

The key word for Advent is the word watch. Keep your eyes open. Get ready to be judged, and to be judged at any moment. Occupy your day, this day (whatever else you may be doing), by consciously and seriously turning from your habitual sins and by wholeheartedly imitating Jesus.

As we live, one day at a time, we must strive to keep our eyes off the horizon of tommorrow, and we must strain to break free of the shackles of yesterday. Prudent Christians are realists. As we learn from what has gone before, and as we prepare for the Christmas season during Advent, we will be walking with Jesus by faith, holding on to Our Invisible Leader by hope. An Advent Attitude means living hourly and working daily in hope, Christian hope. And this hope, with its Object being God (unlike optimism, the object of which may be anything, including illusions), does not disappoint.

So, watch. Get ready. Stay ready. Live prepared, listening and watching for His approach. This Advent, let your voice, let your heart, let your whole life, cry out Come, Lord!