Looking backward and forward. Waiting, praying, being ready and standing tall.
In Luke’s Gospel this Sunday some of what we hear is what we heard a couple of weeks ago when Jesus talked about darkness and the end of time. That reading was from Mark’s Gospel.
Again, today, Jesus talks about when he will come a second time in power and glory. The sun, moon and stars will be in total disorder. The nations of the earth will be in panic, disturbed and fearful because of what is happening.
But Jesus is not trying to frighten us. He is saying he will come in power and glory and he wants us to be prepared – to stand tall and raise our heads because he wants to bring us home to heaven with him.
This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, the start of the church’s new liturgical year. The word “advent” means coming. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Day. It’s a joyful time of preparation for Christmas, the first coming of Jesus as a baby in Bethlehem.
As we listen to the readings and the Gospels during Advent, much of what is read has little to do with Jesus as a baby. But, Advent is more than waiting for Jesus’ coming as a baby in Bethlehem or tracking the number of days until Christmas.
Advent tells us that Jesus comes to us every day. When we go to Mass, when we receive holy Communion, when we pray, when we are loving, kind, forgiving and share with others, when we see the beauty of nature in the changing seasons, when others are kind and helpful to us, Jesus comes daily into our lives and the world around us.
Advent also reminds us our earthly world will not last forever. At the end of time, Jesus will come once more to bring people home to heaven with him.Advent, then, tells us of three comings of Jesus (past, present, and future): Jesus coming to earth as a baby in Bethlehem, Jesus coming to us each day as we live the way Jesus taught us – loving and serving God and neighbor, and Jesus coming again in power and glory at the end of time.