Monday, November 24, 2008

He Will Come (Again)--1st Sunday of Advent

November 30, 2008, Year B 


Reflections on the Readings

By Dennis Hankins

Theme: He Will Come (Again)

"But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32)

We cannot know what Jesus chooses not to reveal to us.  Jesus does not reveal that hour because of ignorance, but because it is not necessary for us to know the times and seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. (Acts 1:7)

Can you imagine the complacency such knowledge could create?  Somethings are not necessary to know; nor does their truthfulness depend upon are knowing them.  It is enough to watch, for we do not know when the master of the house will come.

The attention Jesus wants us to give to the future and the future of our soul is one of watchfulness and alertness, requiring effort and discipline.  Advent therefore focuses our attention on both the Second Coming and the First Coming of Jesus.  The blessed hope of the Second Coming springs from the blessed event of the Incarnation; the First Coming.

It is in the Incarnation that all of humanities hopes and fears find consolation.  During this Advent we prepare our hearts to receive anew the desire of all nations. It is through prayer our hearts remain attentive and alert to the redemption that is only in Jesus.  

In Advent we examine ourselves; determined that nothing will keep us from the Lord.  This holy season therefore prepares us for the reason of Christmas.  If in our hearts there is no room for Jesus now, there'll be no room for Jesus Christmas Day, or on the day of his glorious appearing in the clouds of heaven.

Matters of great importance usually inspire expectation and preparation.  Advent brings us to matters of great importance.  Perhaps the preparations a bride undertakes explains best the meaning of Advent.  No detail is too small as the Bride solicits the help of family and friends for the greatest day in her life.  Colors, dresses, decorations and a thousand other things are selected and purchased.  She assembles a guest list and creates invitations with a design that speaks of the dignity and joy of her special day.  She selects for herself adornment that speaks of the purity and specialness she is as she meets her groom before the altar; a place that speaks of the specialness and purity Jesus gives to both.

People who fast and pray aren't weird  and whacky.  They are lovers making all the necessary preparations for their Lord, lest he come suddenly and find them asleep.  Contrary to our materialistic culture, Advent is not about shopping sprees and bargains.  Advent is a spiritual check up to make sure we haven't been lulled into a spiritual slumber.  

Covetousness is a spiritual peril.  Jesus said, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  This next four weeks give us the opportunity to break bad habits and thinking.  Availing ourselves of the means of grace will bring us back to an awareness of greater things than stuff and things  

Jesus told a parable saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?'  And he said,'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool!  This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'   So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:15-21)

While there may not be room for Jesus in the Inn on Christmas Day, may it not be said there is no room either in our heart.  He is Coming!  May we love his appearing!

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, I love thee.  May I not wander or stray from your love.  May your coming ever be the hope of my heart.  Amen.

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