As a new liturgical year begins and the season of Advent starts, it is our tradition to reflect on the final return of Christ, his ‘second coming’. During this liturgical year we shall be reading the Gospel of Matthew on Sundays.
Towards the end of Matthew’s account of the ministry of Jesus, Jesus speaks at length about the future and the end of the world. Jesus stresses the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end. The fundamental message here is the need to be ready at all times. The day is not known and it is useless for Christians to waste time calculating when the day of Christ’s return will come. The message to ‘stay awake’ is a call to trustful perseverance in generous response to the gospel.
The season of Advent is the time in which we read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, considered by Christians to be the foremost prophet of the Messiah. The invitation to go up to the mountain of the Lord encourages us to continue in faith our Christian journey to God’s dwelling place. In due time we will rejoice with the psalmist and say ‘and now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem’. Jesus leads us to the city of God. Advent teaches us that we should live our lives in hope and love.
Many Christians have lost the sense of Advent, with the secular ‘party season’ obscuring its beauty more and more. The beauty of Advent lies in the sure hope that the Lord will come, and in the encouragement of the Scriptures to live the life of faith. In Advent we should examine our Christian response and style of life with honesty and make the changes that faith suggests so that we are indeed always ready to meet the Lord.
Do I calculate how to reach salvation, or am I constantly ready to welcome the Lord?
What changes are required in the way I live the days of Advent and my Christian life?
Let us pray for trust, perseverance and generosity on our journey.
Let us pray that the true sense of Advent and Christmas will be rediscovered in our society.