We have to make ready the Way for the Lord’s Coming. There is some action on our part for the Second Coming of Christ. The Scriptures make this message known well; So, Hail to You, Christ Jesus, the Lord Who Promises to Return to us in Glory Soon.
Our gospel of this opening Sunday Gospel proclaims it—that the Lord is coming, but it takes a present readiness for it: “For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42)… which means, ’so be awake as when it happens, and not caught in slumber with your faith!’ Then we heard verse 44 add: “for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Here’s another Advent verse to consider: Jesu said: “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later (John 13:36).” We will follow Him later… this means ahead of us, right? When He appears…
There is a Bible verse done to song: “Lord, when Your Glory appears, my joy shall be full.” That Advent line is sung over and over, for effect and meaning and depth. “Lord, when Your Glory appears, my joy shall be full.” Yes, and I presently hope for it! I hope on it. Hope is the anchor of my soul, so says Hebrews in the Word of God.
Jesus says important Advent things as recorded in John 13 and 14 of His Good News: “I go and prepare a place for you, and I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be (John 14:3).”
That is a verse that our parish proclaimed at Paul Purta’s funeral, in Friday’s liturgy here. Paul had prepared himself for the Lord’s Return—and while he did not see the Second Coming happen, with the Lord appearing in the skies over the world, God did call Paul to His light and glory just days ago, and he was ready, after 93 years of faith since his infant baptism. Upon Paul’s passing. his soul goes forth, and his body will rise on that Last Day, of Christ’ Glorious Return.
Here’s another verse about not letting yourself be caught surprised: “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival” (Luke 12:37). It comes from the parable of some people who were ready, and some who were not. All were asked to be ready, though. There was a warning….
Jesus asks His disciples a wondering question in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” I find that an urgent and striking question of our present time, as faith declines in the world, and among our youth, who yield to the spirit of the age…
Faith-filled expectancy and readiness for His coming is not something that the Church and its members can sustain on its own. We need God’s grace and support, in the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments, and many means of His goodness. We need some Advent of The Lord highlight in pre-Christmas season. So, in every generation, the Spirit renews the blessed hope of the Church in its Advent time, the lead-up to Christmas. The original Christmas had its own lead=up of the Old Testament Advent.
We know that story, and the first two readings remind us today. “Let us come rejoicing, to the House of the Lord” and “Come let us go up to the mountain of The Lord, to the House of Jacob.” The Jews had their festivals and feasts and religious observances to prepare the Way of Messiah to come among them; and He did so.
Now it is the New Testament Advent for a Lord of Glory, the same Jesus, to come to us, though in awesome power, and in judgment upon His adversaries, and those who warred against God’s call for peace. “He shall beat their swords into plowshares; and spears into pruning hooks” says the prophecy today. Do you know that the same Scripture is chiseled on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial downtown, in memory of Abe Lincoln and the Bible reading, Bible believing and acting president of the union?
We the Church feature this season of Advent for a reminder of how important the Advent of Christ is—but it is in our liturgies and prayers all year round, and in our Scriptures all through the New Testament. The Spirit reminds us what the Word of God says, that there are so many references to the Second Coming, as we see told in key moments of the Master, like in Matthew 5 in the Beatitudes, Luke 9 in the Transfiguration, add in Acts 1 at Christ’s Ascension. It’s in His key teachings, and I point out a pair of them amidst the parables, like in Mark 13 of The Coming of the Son of Man, or in Matthew 25 of the Parable of the Ten Virgins—where five had their lamps lit (as in faith being alive) and five did not, to perish because of it. It is told in the last big message of Matthew.
Go to the great epistle chapters of Saints Paul, or Peter, or John—and the Second Coming, or The Lord’s Advent, is there. It’s in Ephesians 1:3-14, 18-23 in the explanation of God’s Plan of Salvation or in Romans 8:14-25 about our destiny of Glory. It’s in 1st Peter 4:12-17 & 5:8-10 of the Advent of Christ Glorious to be preceded by the persecution of the Church’s true believers, or “the household of God” to be tested, but a calling up to eternal glory in God does come forth.
John the apostle and revelator then says does come “a New Heaven and New Earth” after a number of things will have to unfold to hasten the Son of Man’s return, as it is said in Revelation 21:1-8. So even last part of the Bible is shouting out that the Lord will return and usher in the Perfect Age for the just. # # # This is just a snapshot of Advent.
In my Sunday homily, I spoke of Advent hope of being like the planning and awaiting of the Thanksgiving parade, as an exercise I do every so many years apart. Planning the be there and enjoy the parade makes for some preparation and plans and actions; with that taken care of, then I can fully enjoy it. *Except that I have no control over the weather in NYC—so if the forecast is for poor, very cold conditions—then I postpone for another year. Yet I love going to this parade, and bringing a friend along. It’s what I did in this 2022. I told some account of it in my homily illustration. After waiting for a two and a half hours in a select spot and with a special plan, I was able to enjoy the parade and make Advent comparisons to the experience. I hope you got to hear it; it was fun in the telling.
Advent. It’s not just a countdown on the calendar to Christmas. It’s a waiting for Jesus in Glory; just as surely as He did come as the Christ Child, He’ll come as Lord of Glory.
The Lord calls us to earnestly desire and wait for Christ’s coming in glory. Even in the ministry days in His Jerusalem approach for the last time, as He was aware that He was to depart and go to the Father, Jesus urged his followers to be ready for his return, warning them “For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). Apply that to Advent season, which starts on our present weekend.