Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64: 2-7
1 Corinthians 1: 3-9
Mark 13: 33-37
We are entering the Advent season, in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Of course, the department stores, electronics stores, the online shopping sites, have declared that now is the Christmas season. “So buy now, now, NOW; while prices are low, low, LOW!” And even those who do understand the meaning of this Advent season, they focus more on the preparation to remember the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as a human child. We tend to forget that Advent is a time to also reflect on the Second Coming of Christ, at the end of time. Many of us, I think, have the attitude that the Second Coming will not happen in our lifetimes. This is fueled by scientific speculation that the Universe has billions of years left in it’s life, that Earth itself, has millions, if not billions years of life left in it. So we become complacent, we are like the college student who slacks off most of the academic year, figuring he can cram in his studies and be ready for his final examination.
Then today’s Gospel can be an alarm for us. For Jesus is grabbing us by the shoulders; shaking us and saying: “Watch!” He is telling us, in no uncertain terms, that we do not know the day or the hour of his coming again, his coming in glory and power. So we need to live every day, every hour, and every second, in expectation of Christ’s Second Coming! And our hearts and souls must to ready, every day, every hour, and every second, to greet Him when He comes. We must strive daily, to read, reflect on, and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must live in expectation of encountering Christ daily, through God’s Creation, through His Word, in each other, and especially thorugh the Eucharist. We must work to make our hearts open to the Presence of our Living God..
This requires work, this requires preparation; it will mean a lifetime of work. God is with us, ready to form us in a beautiful creation; as long as we do not harden our hearts against Him. This is what the season Advent is to help us understand, to help us begin anew the work of conversion, to prepare and watch for the coming of the Lord.