ARE YOU READY FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST ?
“May the Lord strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 3:13
The season of Advent = the coming of Christ is all about preparation.
A 4-week period of preparation for the Christmas-Epiphany celebration focuses on the joyful celebration of the Lord’s Incarnation.
Advent is a time for looking both backward and forward. We look backward as we prepare to celebrate the historical birth of Jesus of Nazareth at Christmas. We await also Christ’s coming more fully into our lives today and also as we await His second coming.
With that longing for Christ’s coming in mind, we recognize in Advent a time of preparation and anticipation.
First, we recognize that Christ is born into our lives each day as we open ourselves to His grace and love.
Second, we look forward in Advent to the culmination of Christ’s kingdom, when He will return in glory to fulfill the promise of wholeness as all creation responds to His healing presence.
And we say “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again,” during the Eucharistic Prayer, waiting for Him.
The purpose of Advent is to prepare us for a deep, personal, life-changing, world-shaking encounter with Christ this Christmas season.
He does not say to strengthen you, but your hearts. “For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts.” (Matthew 15:19.) For it is possible, without doing anything, to be a bad man; as for example, to have envy, unbelief, deceit, to rejoice at evils, not to be loving, to hold perverted doctrines, all these things are of the heart; and to be pure of these things is holiness.
For indeed chastity is properly by preeminence called holiness, since fornication and adultery is also uncleanness. But universally all sin is uncleanness, and every virtue is purity. For, “Blessed,” it is said, “are the pure in heart.” (Matthew 5:8.) By “the pure” He means those who are in every way pure.
We have the word, “Christ-Mass.” Let us pray with so much love that Mass/Liturgy becomes the center of our life and we will attend the Mass even more often then on Sundays only.
Reconcile with God in repentance and express this in confession of our sins.
It means that we turn from vices to virtues; control our thoughts, emotions, behavior, words.
Live daily in God’s Word and share His Word. This is the origin of Christmas cards.
Do penance, especially fasting. This is the connotation of the Advent color, purple.
Do good deeds, especially alms giving. This is the origin of Christmas gift-giving.
Get ready this Advent for the coming of Christ.
Jesus said in the Gospel – Luke 21:25-28, 34-36:
25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
The signs are not to be taken literally, but as an indication that all creation will announce the second coming. The whole universe will tremble at the Lord’s coming in power and glory (Daniel 7:13-14).
26People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads In contrast with all those who will be hiding in fear because your redemption is at hand.
Because we are followers of Christ, we have confidence and hope and should not be fearful.
34“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing/parties and drunkenness and the anxieties/worries/fears of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise
35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.
36 Be vigilant at all times /good and bad/ and pray
Constant prayer is a persistent theme throughout Luke. Vigilance consists in making a constant effort which keeps us close to God. If you want to be a friend with Jesus talk to Him daily, in the morning, in the evening, during the day and you will become friends.
that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
If we have lived as we should, the day we die will be a day of joy and not of terror. In meeting Christ we will not be meeting a judge who will find us guilty, but instead, He will embrace us and lead us into the house of His Father to remain there forever.
And if I live the life God wants me to live, when my end time comes, I will be with Him in heaven.
I also know that if I do what I want rather than what He wants, and do not reconcile myself with Him, I will not receive my inheritance.
Obviously, Jesus’ words to His disciples (to us) are about the end of the world and being prepared. This always seems to frighten many people, and it should. Advent is a time for “taking inventory” of our spiritual life to see if it is in line with God’s plan for us.
So, indeed the readings are about preparation, but not about gifts, parties, food, etc.
They are about our preparing to meet our Lord and Savior at the end of our time, and that “time” being now. If we are truly prepared in accordance with His will, then our holiday season will be a very Merry Christmas.