First Sunday of Advent
Matthew 24 37-44
Today is the first day of December. Here in the U.S. we are just coming out of the Thanksgiving holidays. We may feel that the Christmas season is suddenly thrust upon us before we have had time to catch our breath. For today, Dec. 1st, is the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend, and yet it is also the first Sunday of Advent. It is the beginning of the new liturgical year, the season that will welcome the infant Christ into our world. But could it be then that this Advent is the ideal time "to catch our breath" – to slow down, to sit and rest a while, to ponder what really we are all about, and just where we and our world are headed?
At this time of Advent we are called to prepare for the coming of the Christ: to celebrate the Incarnation, when the Second Person of God was born a fully human baby in the stable of Bethlehem on Christmas Day.
At this time of Advent we are called to prepare for the coming of the Christ: to celebrate the new liturgical cycle of his life through his birth, ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension to his Father, resulting in the sending of their Holy Spirit.
At this time of Advent we are called to prepare for the coming of the Christ: to celebrate his Second Coming at the end-time, when he shall make all things new – ourselves, all who have gone before us, all who will come after us, and the world itself.
At this time of Advent we are called to prepare for the coming of the Christ: to celebrate, rejoice, and welcome him each day into our hearts to form us into himself.
The first reading from Isaiah helps us to look forward to that glorious end-time, when we all shall dwell in peace and love in the light of the Lord. Paul in his letter takes up the same theme, the second coming of the Lord (though he saw it as much sooner than it has turned out to be), and cautions us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," for our salvation is near. Jesus himself gives the same message to his disciples, reminding them of the time of Noah and the flood, and using the parable of the thief in the night to tell us that we also must be prepared.
Each day of this Advent season could we ask Jesus to make a manger of our hearts where he can come to be born anew, he in us and we in him.? Amen
Br. Peter A. Fitzpatrick, CFX, a Xaverian Brother, is a Passionist Associate at Ryken House, across the creek from the Passionist Monastery, in Louisville, Kentucky.