Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ

December 2, 2007 Year A

First Sunday of Advent

Reflections on the Readings

By Dennis Hankins

Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122:1-9

Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

Theme:  Put on the Lord Jesus Christ

Let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Today begins the Liturgical New Year for the Church. This season is called Advent.  Advent cultivates in us an attitude of expectation, if not urgency.  Just as we are heading into the shortest days of the year, the Church asks us to be alert, aware and expectant.  It is the hour to awake from sleep.  The scripture readings call our attention to our new life in Christ as putting on the armor of light.  Having cast off the "works of darkness" we now walk in the light of the Lord!  

Because we will always need to guard against the desires of the flesh, we enter into Advent with a call to penance.  It has been called and really is a Little Lent.  For the sake of our souls, we seek solace and consolation from the Lord.  Darkness seeks to encroach upon everything good and holy.  This New Year of the Church asks us to embrace the conduct that is proper to those who are of the Light.  WE are of the DAY.  Faithfulness, sobriety, brotherly love and respect are manifestations of life lived in the light of the Lord.  

So we literally begin this season with an eye toward spiritual renewal.  Just as we are in the midst of falling leaves, brown grass, shorter days and cooler weather, we are called to be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  The culture of our day marks these days before Christmas as festive.  Just as in those days before the flood, there is eating and drinking, going to parties and giving parties.  It is Advent that calls us to enter the Ark.  Noah's ark was the place of safety, refuge and a new time.  Our Ark is Jesus, it is in Him we live and move and have our being.  

Some popular preachers of our day describe those who are taken as better off than those who were left behind.  However, the truly blessed in Jesus' estimation are in the ark, the one left in the field, the one remaining at the mill.  Being Left Behind is to be among those who expectantly and watchfully prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord.  This is what Advent is; this is why a Star shines in the east to lead us to heaven's Daystar.

It is a time to prepare our hearts to make room for the Lord.  At the end of this season we will embrace again the first coming of the Lord, for whom there was no room in the Inn, while we rightly and expectantly look forward to His Second coming. So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)

Our salvation is nearer than we first believed.  Soon and very soon we shall see the King. Let us walk in the Light of the Lord!

Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, keep me free from the extravagance and excesses of the flesh.  Fill my being with your heavenly light so that righteousness will flourish in me.  Help me in the hour of temptation not to hide the light of your countenance nor be ashamed of the revelation of your divine life.  Amen.




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